A citizens advisory group is sponsoring a series of public forums for residents interested in learning more about two issues on the upcoming April ballot.

A citizens advisory group is sponsoring a series of public forums for residents interested in learning more about two issues on the upcoming April ballot. 

The first of three public forums on City of Lake Ozark ballot issues to improve city streets will be held at 7 p.m. Thursday, March 19, at the Lake Ozark Christian Church, 1560 Bagnell Dam Blvd.

Two issues will be on the Municipal General Election ballot April 7 for city of Lake Ozark registered voters to consider. One is to authorize the city to borrow up to $6 million over the next several years to help pay for improvements to the city’s aging 90 miles of streets. 

The second issue on the ballot is the approval of a Use Tax which would be applied to out-of-state online purchases. Revenue from the Use Tax would be one of the sources used to pay any debt incurred for street construction.

Neither ballot issue will cost Lake Ozark residents anything unless they make out-of-state online purchases, and that would be at the same tax rate as the local sales tax – 2.75 percent. 

According to recent Missouri Municipal League estimates, that means the city of Lake Ozark is losing an estimated $134,000 a year in uncaptured sales tax revenue on online purchases. 

The Lake Ozark Citizens Transportation Advisory Committee is sponsoring the public forums. The committee is comprised of residents and business owners interested in improving the city’s streets. Rick Hasty of Lake Ozark is chairman of the group.

The second public forum will be at 10 a.m. Thursday, March 26, at Willmore Lodge, 1 Willmore Lane.; and the final forum will be at 6 p.m. that same day at the Lake Ozark Christian Church. 

The ballot issues

A Citizen’s Transportation Committee has been working for several months to find a solution to fixing the city’s deteriorating road system. It could cost between $5 and $7 million over the next 20 years, but city officials say it has to be done to ensure that residents and visitors have safe and reliable roads.

“I don’t think there’s anybody who doesn’t think we need new roads,” Hasty said recently. “The question is, how do we do it?”

A city’s streets are part of its infrastructure along with its water and sewer systems. The city is nearing completion of an upgrade to its sanitary sewer system, and recently completed the final hookup to a 10-inch water main that now serves the entire community. The water main project was started in 2006. Both the water and sewer projects were completed as funds became available. City officials have said that quality water, sewer and transportation systems are necessary to encourage residential and commercial growth.

Now, the focus is on streets – the way motorists get to and from work, shopping and entertainment.

The first two steps toward improving the streets are voter approval of two issues on the April 7 General Municipal Ballot.

•One issue would authorize the city to borrow up to $6 million over the next several years to cover the cost of renovating the streets. Various revenue streams would be used to pay off that debt.

•The other issue is for voters to approve a Use Tax, which is a sales tax on out-of-state online purchases from businesses that do not have a presence in Missouri. Those funds – estimated as much as $134,000 a year – would be one of the sources of funds to pay the debt.

Road survey

A comprehensive Road Assessment was completed last year by Cochran Engineering. It identified the condition of the streets, listed a priority of how the streets should be improved, provided an estimated timetable and the cost of construction. The assessment outlines a preliminary maintenance program that is subject to change based on available funds.

Lake Ozark City Administrator Dave Van Dee noted that problems with the city’s streets outpace the city’s ability to keep pace.

Renovation of Bagnell Dam Blvd. from near Quality Inn to Bagnell Dam Blvd. will be one of the priority projects. That 3.3-mile main artery for the city could cost as much as $2.9 million to rehabilitate.

Improvements would be completed in phases.

For more details on the $6 million debt issue, the Use Tax and the specific ballot language, visit cityoflakeozark.net, then to the What’s New tab. For the complete Road Assessment, to go the Reports tab.