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Aldermen approve 2023 city budget and rate increases

Photo by Jay Forness

The Jackson Mayor and Board of Aldermen approved the annual city budget for 2023 at the Dec. 19 meeting.

“I think we put together a really solid budget,” said Mayor Dwain Hahs. “Our revenue is going $39.5 million, the utilities will be $22.5 million, and our regular revenue from taxes, real estate taxes, fees, is projected to be $12.5 million. I think we’ve been able to address our employees with salary increases, adding a holiday [Juneteenth] as well a step increase.

“We’re going to be able to fund some major projects,” Hahs continued, and listed the following: “Our West Mary Street bridge replacement, our water and wastewater system upgrades (that we’ve bonded), the fire station remodeling will be addressed this year, the electric substation on Old Orchard Road, our normal concrete and asphalt road maintenance, and our Parks and Recreation projects, which will be funded out of our American Rescue Plan funds. And finally, we’ve got our part of the utility relocations for the Highway 61 project.”

The Board also approved the Jackson solid waste, sewer, water and electric utility rate schedule. Residents will see an increase in some of their utility rates.

Electric rates will remain the same. A sewer increase of 10% adopts the recommended adjustments from the rate study associated with the voter-approved wastewater bond obligations that will be issued in 2023.

A 7% increase for electric (minimum charge only), water, and trash is tied to the Consumer Price Index adjustment that is issued annually by the Missouri State Tax Commission.

In other action

• Rezoning: No one spoke in opposition to a rezoning request during a public hearing. The request was for property at 2033 W. Jackson Blvd. to be rezoned from an I-1 (light industrial) to C-2 (general commercial) district, as submitted by Gerald R. Sewing, Tommy H. Sewing, Brenda J. Hester, Daphne R. Sewing and Andy R. Sewing, as heirs of Walter M. and Norma Sewing.
The request was granted later in the meeting.

• Employee compensation plan: The aldermen approved the City’s employee compensation plan.

• Economic development: The aldermen approved the establishment of a reserve fund to encourage economic development projects or property beneficial to the City of Jackson.

• Website redesign: An agreement with CivicPlus, LLC, of Manhattan, KS, was approved for work on redesigning and hosting the City’s website. Three payments were authorized: $29,497.61 for website redesign and integration with related online services; $38,500 for online planning, permitting, code enforcement, and licensing software; and $11,588 for Parks and Recreation facility scheduling and management software.

• Community Outreach Board: The aldermen approved the mayor’s appointment of Ted Clark to the Community Outreach Board to fill an unexpired term ending in May 2023.

• Soccer Park: A change order to Fronabarger Concreters of Oak Ridge was approved for work on Phase 1 of the Soccer Park drainage improvement project. The purpose of this change order was to extend the contract time. Rain and saturated conditions have caused delays to the earth work and remaining concrete work.

• Personnel policies: An amendment to the Personnel Policies and Procedures for the City of Jackson was approved.

• Park restroom: The aldermen accepted Nip Kelley Equipment Co.’s bid of $332,477 to replace Restroom No. 1 on Union Street in City Park, and authorized a contract with the company.

Three bids were received, ranging from $332,477 to $393,930. The low bid was below the engineer’s cost estimate of $355,370.75.

• SEMO REDI: During study session, James Stapleton from SEMO Regional Economic Development, Inc. (formerly Cape Area MAGNET) gave the Board of Aldermen an update on his organization. For more information, see the mayor’s column on page 5 in last week’s (Dec. 28) issue of The CBJ.

• Park Board: During study session, Parks and Recreation Director Jason Lipe gave an update on the Dec. 12 Park Board meeting.

He said improvements at the Soccer Park are “starting to really take shape.” Strickland Engineering is working on plans for heating restrooms. A playground is planned for the Civic Center. The Civic Center is looking at adding an ADA door opener.

Improvements will be made to the outdoor tennis and basketball courts. The Extravaganza of Lights in City Park drew 17,847 cars over three weeks.

When asked about plans to create a dog park, Lipe replied, “At the current time, the Park Board is not interested in a dog park.”

The idea had been studied for awhile, but the Park Board was not comfortable with any of the proposed locations, he added.

• Greensferry traffic: In response to residents complaining about speeding on Greensferry Road, the aldermen discussed a traffic assessment that had been made there. The recommendation was to install warning signs near a curve in the road, add double yellow lines in the center of the road and install rumble strips. Accidents on that section of the road were caused by vehicles not staying in their lanes and not from speeding.

A resident from that area said he thought the recommendations would do nothing to slow down traffic. He said some vehicles race through the area at 50 mph. He did not want to see the posted speed limit reduced — he just wanted to see it enforced.

• Purple Heart City: Aldermen Michael Seabaugh asked if the aldermen would like Jackson to become a Purple Heart City. (Cape Girardeau has that designation.) The aldermen were not opposed to the idea, and city staff will look into what is required to get that designation and will report back.

Gregory Dullum has worked for The Cash-Book Journal for more than 25 years. Prior to becoming the editor in May 2017, he was production manager, circulation manager and reporter. Before moving to Cape Girardeau in 1988, he was editor of the Saint Louis Park Sailor, a weekly community newspaper in suburban Minneapolis, MN. A native of Minnesota, he returned there after graduating with distinction in 1978 from Ambassador College in Pasadena, CA, with a degree in mass communications. His wife, Marie, whom he met in college, is a native of Zalma, a small town in southeast Missouri. They have two grown daughters and five grandchildren. Gregory may be reached at

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