Kentucky Avenue extension progresses

Platte City residents have the ability to assure a potential arterial roadway can be finished in the next decade.On Tuesday, the city’s Board of Aldermen approved a question to be placed on the November 2014 general election ballot, asking voters to approve the ability to issue $2.7 million in general obligation debt to route Kentucky Avenue from its current terminus at Bent Oak Court all the way to Fourth Street. Platte City Administrator DJ Gehrt called the project “the last best shot” to provide an east-west connector at last week’s Economic Development Subcommittee where he received support for the proposal. The Aldermen voted 6-0 in favor of putting the bond question on the ballot. To pass, the measure would require a 4/7-plus-one majority plus one or roughly 57 percent of the vote in favor in a general election as opposed to a 2/3-plus-one majority — nearly 67 percent — in a non-general election. The $2.7 million can’t be used for any other purpose, including a proposed extension to Kentucky Avenue in the other direction to provide another entrance/exit to the QuikTrip and McDonalds on Prairie View Road. No tax increase is tied to the measure, although the specific language does not specify that provision. That’s because Missouri state law doesn’t allow general obligation debt approval to go without it, and the city could choose to issue the debt and a future Board could opt to set a tax increase in any amount to avoid default. “With general obligation debt, there’s always the ability to raise property taxes. We don’t intend to and we don’t intend to tie it to the ballot,” Gehrt said. “It’s the same exact situation as our current general obligation debt, but I think it’s wise to point out so that people don’t think we’re trying to hide something, so I’m glad it comes out in the discussion. “Our track record over the last 20 years is that we do what we say and we say what we do, and we’ve never had that issue, nor does anybody expect it in the future.” Gehrt called the extension necessary in the next five years, and the general obligation debt would give them flexibility to make sure the project gets done with the possibility remaining that the debt is never issued at all.

Read the whole story in this week's issue of The Citizen.