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Stormwater tax issue pulled from April ballot

by Ivan Foley
Landmark editor

A move by the Platte City Board of Aldermen Tuesday night means there will be one less issue on the April ballot.

A proposed stormwater tax of $2.75 per month for residents and higher amounts for commercial property was scheduled to be on the ballot for Platte City voters in April. It won't happen now, as the board voted to pull it off the ballot so it won't hamper Platte County's efforts to pass a 3/8 cent sales tax for roads in the April election.

"The county wants to pass its sales tax, and we have agreed it's probably not a good idea to put both issues on the ballot at the same time," Mayor Dave Brooks said.
City officials are hoping the county's tax will pass, as it would mean roughly $2 million over a period of 10 years in sales tax money distributed back to Platte City. The board passed a resolution Tuesday night supporting the county's proposed road sales tax.

As for the stormwater tax issue, City Administrator Keith Moody said the proposal may end up on the ballot in August. He said it will take just a simple majority to pass the stormwater issue.

"We haven't given up on it. We just don't want the county to lose something that we know the county needs so bad," Brooks said.

If approved, Platte City's stormwater tax would mean a $2.75 maximum monthly fee for single family and two family dwellings. Businesses, industries, multi-family and other users would pay a monthly fee of 55 cents per 500 square feet of runoff surface.

Runoff surface would include the surface of buildings, driveways, parking lots and other structures that cause water from rain and snow to run into the city's storm drainage system.

Fees for businesses could range up into the neighborhood of $300 per month for places such as the Airport Inn and Quik Trip. Car dealerships would also be hit with significant monthly fees.

A big part of the fee would go toward purchasing a street sweeper. Currently, the city contracts the city's street sweeping at $70 per hour.

The stormwater ballot question has been an issue of controversy for the board of aldermen. In August, Aldermen Bill Knighton, Jim Palmer and Ron Porter had voted against putting the measure on the ballot, while Aldermen Gary Brown, Lee Roy Van Lew and Shelle Browning voted in favor. Brooks declined the chance to break the tie vote last summer.

The issue was then brought up again in December, and the same 3-3 tie vote among the board was reached. At that time Brooks broke the tie and voted to send the measure to voters.