Parkville discusses sewer rate increase, Hwy 45

The new year will bring a new sewer rate increase for citizens of Parkville.  Last week the Parkville Board of Aldermen approved a three percent increase to address future needs for an increased fund balance and closed-circuit television inspection. The Board considered several options for the rate increase, which is estimated will cost the average residential customer an extra $1.05 per month in 2014. The last rate increase — which was two percent — was approved in 2009, and City Administrator Lauren Palmer said the City could follow one of several scenarios, including keeping rates flat until a significant, emergency increase was required, implementing small, steady rate increases over several years, or setting the rate each year at the exact level required to comply with policy. Palmer said this approach would result in erratic increases and decreases in rates and would cause unpredictability for customers. The Board held a public hearing, with no input, and unanimously approved the increase. The Highway 45 widening project is still moving forward, and the Board also unanimously approved the cost sharing agreement with the Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT). In this third phase of the project, Highway 45 will be widened from two to four lanes from Highway K to Interstate 435 at a total cost of about $12.6 million. The improvements include curbs and gutters, retaining walls, extension of the multi-modal trail on one side of the roadway and roundabouts at the intersections of Hwy. 45 and Brink Myers Road and Timber Ridge Street. Platte County will contribute $1.5 million to the project from the transportation sales tax. The agreement will require the City to maintain the trail and vegetation along the highway within the city limits, and Mayor Jim Brooks questioned this. “When the County renewed the parks sales tax they said this would include some maintenance funds,” Brooks said. Director of Public Works Kirk Rome suggested the City consider application for a Parks and Recreation Outreach grant for work to the trail area. “I think this is a poor use of the Outreach program when we’re charging our citizens a half-cent sales tax that would presumably pay for maintenance and now we’re taking away money from all the communities who are trying to improve their parks,” Brooks said.