By John Sharp
By a unanimous vote last month the Grandview Board of Aldermen is asking voter approval on April 5 for a no tax increase $21 million bond package that includes up to $12.4 million in improvements to city streets, bridges sidewalks and parking areas.
The general obligation bond package labeled Building Up Grandview is split into three separate questions which each will require approval by a majority of those voting. Approval would allow the growing city to take advantage of the current low interest rate on bonds.
Grandview City Administrator Cemal Gungor noted that since the city has already paid off part of the debt from a 2014 bond package and since there has been so much recent building construction in Grandview which significantly increased the total property tax valuation in the city, approval of the three proposed bond questions will not increase city property taxes.
“Grandview has one of the lowest debt rates in the entire metro area, and has seen a building boom over the last six years, so this allows the city to propose this bond package with no tax rate increase for our hard-working community,” Grandview Mayor Leonard Jones said.
Question 1 will authorize issuing up to $6 million in bonds for needed interior renovations to Grandview’s city hall/police station, including adding a fire sprinkler system, making the facility more accommodating for persons with physical disabilities and renovating the jail.
An adjacent city-owned building at 1102 Main will be renovated for use by the existing Missouri Department of Revenue license office now in cramped quarters at city hall which will be moved to the new location, adding more customer service windows. Gungor envisions it being a one-stop shop where persons can pay their city and county taxes as well as getting their drivers licenses and license plates all at one counter.
Question 2 will authorize issuing up to $12.4 million in bonds for transportation-related infrastructure as noted above. Proposed projects include $7 million for street and sidewalk improvements throughout the city, $2 million for Blue Ridge Blvd. corridor improvements, $1 million for downtown improvements, $1.9 million for parking lot improvements at city facilities and $500,000 for a carport to shelter city street equipment.
A 2019 citizen survey in Grandview showed strong support for putting more emphasis in maintaining neighborhood and major streets, sidewalks and city buildings. Grandview Communications Manager Valarie Poindexter said if Question 2 is approved it will provide adequate funding to resurface about 25 percent of Grandview’s streets.
Question 3 will authorize issuing up to $2.6 million in bonds for renovating, equipping and improving the city’s fire stations and acquiring necessary apparatus for the Fire Department. Proposed projects include $900,000 for renovations at Station 2 at 14600 Byars Rd., $600,000 for renovations at Station 3 at 5501 Harry Truman Dr. and $1.1 million for ladder truck replacement. Station 1 at 7005 Highgrove Rd. received extensive renovations from the proceeds from the 2014 public safety bond issue.
Fire Chief Ron Graham said the city’s only ladder truck is about 20 years old and was completely refurbished about six years ago. He said it will probably be kept as a reserve once the new truck arrives.
Keeping an adequately-sized fleet of modern fire-fighting apparatus help keeps residential and commercial property insurance rates low in Grandview, Gungor explained.
When Grandview last submitted a no tax increase general obligation bond package to voters in August 2014 for $8.7 million in park improvements and $4.3 million in public safety improvements, both issues passed with over 70 percent voter support. All of those projects have since been completed, Gungor said.