Missouri state law requires General Obligation Bonds to receive a 4/7 super majority of yes votes, or 57.14%, to be approved at an April general municipal election.
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In 2020, Liberty Parks & Rec conducted a feasibility study that evaluated needs and programming opportunities for sports in Liberty. The study concluded that a fieldhouse would accommodate the growing demand for current and future sports programming as well as tournament space.
The “Imagine Liberty 2032” Parks Master plan solicited input from residents to identify community needs, wants and potential growth opportunities over the next 10 years.
During that process, Liberty residents identified the development of new indoor recreation facilities and improvements to existing facilities as the two highest priorities related to indoor spaces. Specifically, residents want a new indoor walking track, fitness centers, gyms and sport courts.
Presently, the department has maximized its potential for indoor sports programming based on availability of space. Liberty Parks & Rec currently relies on gyms in the Liberty schools for all winter season indoor sports, including basketball and volleyball. Due to the growth in school programs combined with the number of players and teams in Parks & Rec basketball specifically, this requires some practices to be scheduled past 8 p.m. on week nights, which is very hard on our participating kids and families. Liberty Parks and Rec must consider the development of additional indoor court space.
Last summer, Mayor Canuteson appointed a citizen Task Force to look at the feasibility of building a new fieldhouse, community center and/or natatorium. After several months of study, review of other facilities and the Parks Master Plan, the Task Force recommended that the City pursue construction of a new Activity Center and upgrades to the Liberty Community Center.
On January 22, the Liberty City Council voted to bring this ballot question forward to Liberty voters on the April 2 ballot.
Construction of the Liberty Activity Center
Upgrades to the Liberty Community Center
Liberty Parks & Rec (LPR) offers a variety of programs for youth and adults in our community. We partner with the Liberty Public School District to share space for these programs to thrive. Now the community and demand for programming has outgrown the capacity of our current facilities.
Specifically, the community has requested more basketball and volleyball leagues, expanded hours for the Silver Center and senior activities, improved leisure aquatics features, more group exercise classes and an indoor walking track to name a few, and this project addresses all of those. In addition to providing room for existing programs to grow and for new programs to thrive, the Liberty Activity Center could accommodate the majority of rec basketball / volleyball team practices and games, eliminating the need for late night practices.
An activity center will allow the Liberty Parks & Recreation Department to better serve Liberty residents.
Beyond the access to additional programming and the economic benefits this will bring to our community, Liberty residents will receive a discounted membership to both the Liberty Community Center and Liberty Activity Center. Seniors will continue to have a special reduced rate. In addition, Clay County provides a grant for senior memberships and a number of insurance companies cover the cost for senior memberships to community centers. There will always be at least one unprogrammed basketball court for pickup play and community use.
Yes. Additional courts at the new activity center combined with continued facility use agreement with Liberty Public Schools will also allow Liberty Parks & Rec to expand current youth and adult leagues and explore new offerings.
In 2022, Money Magazine rated Liberty as one of the best places to retire, specifically citing the robust Silver Center. This project would provide :
Liberty residents will receive at least a 20 percent discount on annual memberships. Memberships will provide access to both facilities. Parks & Rec is also evaluating all other memberships, including summer passes and day passes, and Liberty residents will have preferred rates across the board.
Prominence Holdings anticipates donating donated 10-12 acres on South Liberty Parkway between Plummer Road and Hughes Road for an activity center.
Through several public input processes specific to Liberty Parks & Rec over the last several years, Liberty residents did not rate a competition pool as high of a priority as leisure aquatics.
We understand that families with swimmers on high school swim teams are passionate about an indoor competition facility. Last year, Liberty Parks & Rec approached several community partners about collaborating on such facility. Each recognized the desire for a indoor competition pool, but non were able to offer any financial support at this point in time. We anticipate having future conversations with community partners regarding construction of a competition pool.
General Obligation Bonds (or GO Bonds) are a form of debt financing secured by property tax revenues and must be specifically authorized by voters. General obligation bonds are typically used for capital improvement projects.
The $60 million General Obligation Bonds, which will have a term of 20 years, will be repaid by Liberty residents through a property tax levy of $0.46 per $100 of assessed valuation on property. For the average household in Liberty, with a home valued at $300,000, this would be an estimated $20 per month.
Currently, the City portion of your TOTAL property tax bill is 11.19%. If this issue is approved, the City portion of your TOTAL property tax bill will increase by 5.5%. If voters approve this issue, the City's property tax will still be one of the lowest municipal property taxes in Clay County.
A debt levy represents a commitment to invest in our community.
The City Council has worked with staff to ensure Liberty has a strong financial foundation that can withstand the pressures of an ever-changing economy. For more than 15 years, the City held the line on property taxes, often reducing the City’s property tax levy, while also leveraging outside funding to complete $70 million in major infrastructure improvements at a cost of just $10 million to the City of Liberty. The City of Liberty currently has the third lowest property tax rate in Clay County.
The idea for an Activity Center and updates the Liberty Community Center actually came from public input. Following the Liberty Parks & Rec Master Plan process that took place last year, a citizen Task Force was appointed and specifically charged with looking at the feasibility of a fieldhouse, community center and/or natatorium. The Task Force has worked with staff to identify programming needs in our community, have narrowed down the scope of the project and have recommended upgrades at the Liberty Community Center and construction of the Liberty Activity Center. In order to pay for the construction of a project of this size, the City would need to issue bonds.
If the City issues the bonds later this year, the debt levy would be applied to 2024 property taxes.
Design-build is a process the City of Liberty has utilized in recent years for the Wastewater Treatment facility, Animal Shelter and City Hall atrium renovation project. In this process, the project owner utilizes a competitive process that focuses on a number of factors including on qualifications, experience, technical approach and price.
The design-build process allows for the consideration of factors beyond price, such as team qualifications and project innovation, with the goal of achieving the best project for the best value.
If voters do not approve the issuance of bonds and as pressure for gym space throughout the community increases, Liberty Parks & Rec may need to cap participation in youth basketball and volleyball. We will also be unable to offer any additional indoor youth or adult sports programming due to a lack of space.