County briefed on impact of road-bridge sales tax

By Burk Krohe

The county’s chief budget and finance officer gave county commissioners an update on the collections from the countywide half-cent sales tax Monday morning.

Riley county voters passed the “roads and jobs” tax in 2002. The revenues from the tax were tied to infrastructure improvements for the county and economic development purposes for the city.

Johnette Shepek noted that despite passing the sales tax in 2002 for road and bridge improvements revenues weren’t collected until 2004. As of December 2011, the county’s share of revenues totaled $10.6 million. The county also received another $1.3 million via an interlocal agreement with the city to bring its share of the proceeds up to 42 percent.

Since then, the county has spent nearly $10.2 million on road reconstruction, bridge and culvert improvements and asphalt overlays. There are still several projects that have not been completed, though. The county also has a list of more than 35 proposed projects estimated to cost $19 million.

Commissioner Karen McCulloh noted that several projects, including improvements to Marlatt and Anderson avenues, were essentially city improvements.

The county is in the process of determining how to seek voter approval for an extension of the tax at year’s end.

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