Riverside City Council is expected to vote tonight to designate $6.5 million for capital infrastructure improvements and equipment — if the city’s income tax rate increase passes in November.
The resolution says that from Jan. 1, 2014, through Dec. 31, 2019, the city would appropriate no less than $6.5 million to improve streets and purchase city vehicles, among the items listed.
The city plans to put an income tax rate increase from 1.5 percent to 2 percent on the ballot in November, which, if it is approved by voters, would generate about $1.42 million annually in new revenue.
The $6.5 million figure is what city officials feel comfortable allocating for capital improvements, “above and beyond what we need to cover our basic operating expenses,” City Manager Bryan Chodkowski said.
“There are so many different capital issues for the city to address, and this is the best way to do that,” he said. “That’s why this resolution is brought forward to make sure folks know that council is committed to investing dollars in the physical things of the community.”
Chodkowski said the “bulk” of the money would go toward fixing residential streets.
There are 144 lane miles of residential streets in the city, and the approximate cost to make improvements to them is $11.23 million, according to a city report from October 2011.
“This is a way to show folks we’re serious about their money,” Councilman Mike Denning said. “I think it’s the only hope of getting it passed. If we don’t earmark the money, I wouldn’t even vote for it.”
Council also will have the second reading tonight of an ordinance that provisionally amends the tax code to 2 percent, and it then will be filed with the board of elections. Before Aug. 1, council will pass a resolution to set the official ballot language for the November income tax measure.
Riverside projects to receive approximately $5 million in income tax receipts this year.
The city is spending about $5 million total this year on three road projects — the Harshman/Valley intersection; Harshman Road; and Burkhardt Road. Construction on the Harshman/Valley intersection is scheduled to begin May 1, Chodkowski said.
This past December, council approved reducing the income tax credit from 1.5 percent to 0.75 percent, which is expected to annually generate about $700,000 — money that council agreed to earmark for capital expenses.
“This is what I wanted from the beginning — the people to vote on it,” Mayor Bill Flaute said. “I didn’t like it when we did it legislatively. I don’t think it was appropriate. We need to give the people a chance to vote on it. This is what it’s all about.”
Residents should expect a 4.95-mill police levy on the ballot in 2014, city officials have said. The current five-year levy — which will generate $1.1 million this year — expires Dec. 31, 2014.
How to Go
What: Riverside City Council work session/meeting
When: 6 p.m. today
Where: Municipal Building, 1791 Harshman Road