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The Cole County Commission has approved figures that will be used by the committee asking voters to approve a renewal of the county's half-cent capital improvement sales tax April 6.

During their meeting Tuesday, Cole County Public Works Director Eric Landwehr said the county's Road and Bridge Advisory Committee spent several meetings discussing how funds from the tax could be spent, which the campaign committee will use in public presentations.

Cole County voters last approved an extension of the tax in April 2016.

The sales tax, first approved in the 1980s, allows funding for road and bridge projects, which receive 85 percent of the funds generated, and facility and equipment improvements, which receive the remaining 15 percent.

The total amount of expenditures on projects from 2022-26, should voters renew the tax, is $34,500,000 — $3.5 million more than the $31 million in the 2017-21 cycle of the tax.

The advisory committee opted to put more sales tax money into safety and road capacity improvements. This would be used to improve locations with a high number of accidents and intersection improvements. There was $425,000 for that work in this past five-year cycle; that amount could increase to $1,375,000 in the next cycle.

"We'd like to do more safety improvements like the project to improve five locations on Tanner Bridge Road," Landwer said.

That project will fix sharp curves, clear trees and right-of-way for sight distance, and widen the road on Tanner Bridge Road from Route B to the Grande Highland subdivision. The work started in this sales tax cycle and would continue in future tax cycles.

Bald Hill Road and other high-volume roads that come into Jefferson City also have places they want to address, Landwehr said.

Landwehr said $5.5 million is planned to go toward cooperative projects with Jefferson City, but the county does not yet have a list from the city of projects they would look to do in the next five years.

The amount for cooperative projects with the seven small communities in the county would go from $1.5 million in the current cycle to $1.7 million in the upcoming cycle.

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Each of the seven small communities in Cole County — Centertown, Lohman, Russellville, St. Martins, St. Thomas, Taos and Wardsville — receives $100,000 in sales tax funds during the five-year period of the tax, generally used for overlaying streets.

A new program started in January 2018 when the commission set up cooperative project funding guidelines for the communities to get part of $800,000 in sales tax to be used for "substantial improvements." The Road and Bridge Advisory Committee ranked the projects, and the commission awarded funds based on those rankings.

The money could be used for any road- and bridge-related project, including stormwater improvements or sidewalk and intersection improvements. The maximum funding per project was $250,000.

"We want to go from $800,000 to $1 million because the program gave five of the seven communities the money they needed to do much-needed projects," Landwehr said.

There also would be an increase in the amount of money directed toward resurfacing and concrete replacement in the next tax cycle, from $6.25 million to $8.75 million.

For the 15 percent for county facilities, Landwehr noted, they increased the amount for maintenance and renovation from $2.85 million in this cycle to $3.275 million in the next cycle.

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