by Sarah Thomack/St. Joseph Post
The St. Joseph City Council will vote at their next meeting on whether to send a bond issue to the voters that would ultimately help fund necessary bridge repairs and replacements.
City Manager Bruce Woody says the city council has been discussing the need for major funding investments in bridge replacements and repair since budget work sessions in the spring last year.
"The council, during that time, quickly seized on the concept of ‘Bonds for Bridges’ as a tagline for promoting a general obligation bond issue for the funding," Woody says. "However, the council has also politely deferred pursuing such a bond issue while waiting for the school board to first decide if they were going to proceed with their own bond issue for new schools."
The St. Joseph School Board announced it will not be placing a bond issue on the ballot, so the city council proposed sending a $20 million bond issue to the voters.
Woody says there are about 10 bridges needing repaired or replaced and they previously had been included on proposals to the Capital Improvement Projects committee.
"But the last several cycles, we have not received any CIP funding through the citizens committee and because the cost of a bridge can be several hundred thousand to a million dollars, it’s been hard to absorb those costs through the regular budgeting process. Certainly maintenance and major maintenance but full replacement has not been possible," Woody says.
The St. Joseph City Council will vote at their next meeting on whether to send the bond issue to the voters.
If approved by voters, property taxes would increase by around $23 for a $100,000 house.