Archive for Thursday, April 6, 2006

Council to weigh proposals for capital projects

April 6, 2006

Mayor Kenneth Bernard's proposed capital improvements list isn't necessarily long; it's just eight projects.

But to finance projects beyond those already scheduled for 2006, the city would need to issue more than $18.4 million in bonds.

Paying off those bonds would require a projected property tax increase of 18.62 mills, based on current valuation.

Bernard and Lansing City Council members talked about the list at a work session Thursday, March 30.

Bernard wasn't suggesting the council approve the projects as presented, nor was he telling property owners to get out their checkbooks.

"The real purpose here was to lay this out, put it all on one sheet, so we could show you the total impact of all of the things that we're talking about," Bernard told council members.

The proposed projects and their estimated costs are:

¢ Reconstruction and curbing of Gamble Street, from Ida Street to the Carriage Hills Plaza shopping center, $222,000

¢ Reconstruction and widening of East Eisenhower Road, $767,000

¢ Expansion of City Hall to include room for the Community Library, $3 million

¢ Construction of a bridge from West Mary Street to the terminus of South Bittersweet Road, coinciding with the opening of the new Lansing Elementary School, $1.6 million

¢ Reconstruction of a portion of 147th Street in a joint city-county project, $465,214 for the city's share

¢ Phase I of the Lansing Community Park, $3.5 million

¢ Reconstruction and widening of DeSoto Road from Ida Street north to Eisenhower Road, $6.4 million

¢ Reconstruction and widening of DeSoto Road from Ida Street south to 4-H Road, $5.43 million.

Of the projects, two are slated for this year with funding already set aside: East Eisenhower and Gamble Road.

Of the remainder, Bernard classified only three of them as "musts": The City Hall expansion, which was promised as part of the 2005 countywide sales tax referendum; 147th Street, because it is a joint project with the county; and Bittersweet, "because it will affect everybody in town" when the new school opens.

The rest, Bernard said, will be done as the council sees fit and depending on funding.

"I don't know if we can go any more," Council President Kenneth Ketchum remarked, "without irate citizens storming City Hall."

Bernard and City Administrator Mike Smith told council members a number of variables could lower the estimated mill levy increase necessary to complete the projects. Included among those variables are how much or how quickly the city's tax base grows in coming years, how much money the city receives for its share of the countywide sales tax and what the interest rates are on the bonds at the time of their purchase.

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