Lake Ozark doesn’t have the money to improve its streets, according to a 2019 engineering study, but the city’s most-trafficked road, Bagnell Dam Boulevard, is in need of significant work.
So the city’s board of aldermen recently voted unanimously to ask voters on April 7 to authorize borrowing up to $6 million over the next few years to begin an overhaul of the city’s aging transportation system. The city says that decision is in response to public input and findings of a recent Road Assessment conducted by Cochran Engineering.
A group of citizens formed a Citizens Transportation Committee last year to assess the city’s needs and to determine what steps the city could take to begin implementing the improvements – including establishing a debt ceiling for transportation needs.
However, state statute prevents the city from incurring debt until it has approval from the voters.
“The street assessment showed the city has about $6 million in needed improvements,” City Administrator Dave Van Dee noted, “and it doesn’t do us much good to spend time discussing how to pay for improvements if we don’t have approval by the public to incur the debt.”
The city did the same thing in 2012 for sanitary sewer improvements.
The authorization to incur debt for street improvements is critical since the city was denied a matching Governor’s Cost Share Grant application for $3 million for transportation. The city’s share would have been $1.5 million, but the city will have to seek other revenue sources to fill that void.
So even if voters approve the $6 million debt ceiling for transportation purposes, the city would need to find a way to fund that debt; City Clerk Kathleen Vance said the city's budget does not have the ability to service that debt.
In November, the Citizens Transportation Committee proposed a Transportation Development District (TDD): a special taxing district that would encompass the businesses along Bagnell Dam Boulevard. A special tax levied in that district would then fund the improvements to Bagnell Dam Boulevard; but the city received pushback on that idea from some business owners on the boulevard.
Vance pointed out the city has also placed a proposed Use Tax on the April 7 ballot, which would be earmarked for transportation funding.
LAKE OZARK, Mo. — Bagnell Dam Boulevard stretches from the intersection with Osage Beach Par…
Last summer, Cochran Engineering conducted a detailed assessment of the condition of the streets. The company outlined numerous options the city can consider but found that the city’s current transportation budget cannot begin to fund the necessary improvements.
The main source of income for the city’s transportation budget is the transportation sales tax – one-half of 1 percent. The city’s transportation budget funds the entire department and covers fixed costs.
These fixed costs leave little room in the budget for capital improvements for streets, according to the report. As a result, the city needs authorization to borrow funds to cover the improvements.
The city has limited funds available and a limited ability to raise additional funding for street improvements, the assessment found. Roadway conditions will continue to deteriorate without finding additional sources of funds, according to the report.
Reconstructing Bagnell Dam
While nearly every street in the city’s inventory needs some type of repair, Bagnell Dam Blvd. from its intersection with Old U.S. 54 near Quality Inn to Bagnell Dam receives the most use and most complaints.
According to Cochran’s report, the 3.3 miles of road is in fair shape, but it is deteriorating and requires a maintenance plan. The report recommends the existing road surface be milled and then overlaid to provide the best driving surface.
An improvement plan specifically for Bagnell Dam Blvd. has been broken into six phases totaling $2.9 million. This is about $1 million higher than the original Cochran Engineering estimate.
City officials and Cochran officials decided that to improve the longevity of the street and to provide a cushion for maintenance, some adjustments were necessary. The asphalt overlay would be 3 inches rather than 2 inches; epoxy would be used for striping rather than paint; and a contingency for unanticipated construction issues was raised from 10 percent to 25 percent. Also, engineering and inspection costs were not included in the original estimates.
The six phases for Bagnell Dam Blvd.’s reconstruction are:
Bagnell Dam to School Road: Milling and overlay, aggregate base repair, overlay parking.
School Road to HH traffic signal: Milling and overlay, drainage modifications.
HH Intersection: Milling and overlay, aggregate base repair, intersection striping and repair.
HH Intersection to Arrowhead Estates Road: Milling and overlay
Arrowhead Estates Road to Old Highway 54 traffic signal: Milling and overlay, drainage modifications.
Old Highway 54 traffic signal to Highway 242 traffic signal: Micro-surfacing.
Other Cochran Engineering Road Assessment findings
•A 20-year program for citywide street improvement shows costs range from $5.2 million to $7.2 million, depending on which improvement option the city chooses.
•The most common complaint is that streets are in poor condition, which can be detrimental to the overall road system since considerable time and funds are spent on that type of road. Consequently, roads in better condition are often ignored and they in turn begin to deteriorate.
•Due to a limited budget and equipment, the city’s maintenance is relatively limited. That maintenance includes snow removal, mowing right-of-way, drainage repair and gravel road maintenance