Cedar Rapids Prepares for First of 2014 Street Work

By Rick Smith, Reporter

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By Larry Burkum

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa — Proof that City Hall is set to accelerate its street improvement program this year with the help of revenue from the city’s local-option sales tax is coming today with a vote of the City Council.

At its meeting today, the council is slated to vote to move ahead with a first, small project for the 2014 construction season, a $320,000 project to repair curbs in the city.

In typical year, the city completes one curb repair project, but this year, with the help of LOST revenue, the city will complete three such projects and fix four times as many curbs as it usually does in a given year, according to a Public Works Department memorandum to the City Council.

Curb repairs often must come before street repair.

Voters in November agreed to renew the city’s 1-percent local-option sales tax for 10 years with all the revenue devoted to street repair.

The tax brings in about $18 million a year, which will allow the city to pay for twice as much work as it had been doing each year with property-tax revenue. The city no longer will take on new debt and pay it off with property-tax revenue to fix streets while the LOST is in place, city officials have said.

The work on the first of three 2014 curb repair projects will start in the spring and be completed within 42 days, according to the Public Works Department memorandum.
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