Friday, December 12, 2008

The Status of the New Gross Receipts Tax for Street Projects

The City has an on-going street maintenance program which is funded by a 2004 gross receipts tax. The money collected from this portion of our community’s tax pays for construction, reconstruction or improvements of municipal streets, alleys or bridges. For instance, this can include projects such as crack sealing and slurry sealing. Each year approximately $1.5 million from this fund is spent on street improvements. Most recently Alaska, 16th, and 23rd Streets were repaved. In addition, in March of 2008 the voters approved an additional ¼ of one percent tax (or 0.25%) to our City’s gross receipt tax rate for new street projects. This tax went into effect on July 1st of this year. The tax is received by the City two months in arrears; therefore the first collection of this tax was received in September. Last month, over $116,000 was collected for just this streets capital outlay portion of the gross receipts tax. The City has pledged this tax revenue source to obtain a low-interest loan to fund high cost multiple street projects at once. This means that projects can start sooner and that we can get more done with the same amount of money. The following projects were identified as the initial priorities from this fund: Cornell, 18th, Indiana, New York, 12th, Bellamah, College, 15th, Delaware, Maryland, Florida, Plainview, and Hamilton, for a total cost of over $14.5 million. This will include required ADA upgrades that will accompany each project. Initially the City will be working on half of these street projects. The current loan is for $7.3 million. The other half will be borrowed after the first set of projects is nearing completion. Almost always, repaving is preceded by water and/ or sewer line work. It is more cost effective to replace the water/sewer lines that are in need of replacement before paving occurs. These items also cost a significant amount and are not funded by the same gross receipts tax. The funds must come from other sources. Engineering work is required for the streets that need water/sewer line repair first, and this preliminary work has already begun. We know that street improvements are of the utmost importance to the citizens of Alamogordo. The low-interest loan for the street work has just been approved by the funding agency and accepted by the City Commission. It will take some time to get the work contracted and scheduled. We will keep you updated as to what street project is beginning and when. Remember that the water line and ADA work will happen first, before you see any of these streets being repaved. Thank you for your support of these Public Works projects.

No comments: