Riley County officials are charging ahead with developing a sales tax measure to fix county roads and bridges.
This comes after the city government departed from the current half-cent tax shared by the two entities that expires in 2022.
In November, Manhattan voters approved a 0.5% citywide sales tax measure, which will go into effect in 2023. The city government would keep all of the revenue public infrastructure, debt reduction and economic development.
If voters approved the county’s own half-cent proposal, it would increase the sales tax rate. The current rate in Manhattan is 8.95%.
As the sales tax issue is still in the early discussion phases, county commissioners haven’t decided on the amount of the sales tax or when it will go on the ballot.
Riley County officials on Thursday shared several proposed construction projects that would be funded through a potential 10-year county sales tax program.
John Ellermann, director of public works, said county staffers and the Road and Bridge Advisory Board developed a list of projects in anticipation of a 2022 sales tax program. It includes culvert and bridge replacements. Crews originally constructed many of the structures between the 1920s and 1940s. The projects also would include asphalt overlays and general new construction.
The total cost of projects over the 10 years is estimated to be about $18 million with the sales tax program generating about $1.8 million annually. The proposal suggests the county use about 9% of the potential tax for culverts, 35% for bridges, 42% for construction projects and 14% for asphalt overlays.
In August, county commissioners had previously agreed by consensus to draft a potential sales tax question for Riley County roads and bridges.
Proposed construction projects include turning Marlatt Avenue from Denison Avenue to Browning Avenue into a four-lane road, making Wildcat Creek Road a two-lane road with shoulders, making Marlatt Avenue around Seth Child West a two-lane rural section with asphalt, and installing roundabouts at U.S. Highway 24 and Seth Child and US-24 and Kansas Highway 13, as well as one at the Seth Child and Marlatt Avenue intersection.
The city government or the Kansas Department of Corrections will likely share some project costs.
Commissioners did agree to tour some of the locations for the proposed replacements and construction at a later date.