Jackson has received two installments totaling $3 million in American Rescue Plan Act funds from the federal government, Mayor Dwain Hahs told the Board of Aldermen Sept. 19. “Both those deposits are made and are in a separate account,” he assured them.
The aldermen have from 2022 to 2024 to decide how to spend the money and until 2026 to spend it.
“As we decide on projects, let’s not wait; let’s move ahead,” he said.
Jackson is operating under the “$10 million rule,” so it can spend ARPA funds in any way that the City would normally spend its funds.
City officials wanted to spend the money on things that it could not otherwise afford to do; things that would make a positive impact on the city.
Under the category of economic development, the City wants to spend ARPA funds to increase tourism ($150,000 — see story in last week’s CBJ), improve Uptown Jackson ($200,000 — see story in the Sept. 21 CBJ), retail business expansion (no money yet assigned) and to add street lights on East Jackson Boulevard between Walmart and Center Junction ($500,000 plus a matching grant of $500,000).
Under the category of quality of life, ARPA funds have already been given to the Senior Center to expand meals on wheels, provide a “new” used van and improve kitchen facilities ($100,000). Additional funds are budgeted to be used to improve trails and sidewalks ($500,000 with a matching grant); used to improve parks, fields, courts, the swimming pool and restrooms (up to $1.5 million); and used by the Jackson Community Outreach Board for events over the next four or five years ($50,000).
The East Main Street sidewalk project (between Bellevue and Shawnee) was approved for a $350,000 grant with the City providing $200,000 in matching funds from ARPA money. Because the grant saved $300,000, there will be further discussions on what other sidewalks and trails need improvement in order to spend that surplus ARPA money.
In other action
• Emergency Operations Plan: The aldermen approved the updated Emergency Operations Plan.
• Water plant: The aldermen approved the $31,231 purchase of two Eaton DG-1 Series variable frequency drives for the water plant from Electrical Contractors, Inc., of Cape Girardeau.
• Power pole replacement: A change order to Power Line Consultants, LLC, of Farmington for work on the Wedekind 73 Pole Replacement Project was approved.
• Liquor sales: The aldermen authorized the sale of intoxicating liquor, beer, and nonintoxicating beer at the Big Love concert in the Nick Leist Memorial Band Shell in Jackson City Park on Sunday, Oct. 9, as submitted by Hickory Ridge Hospitality.
• East Jackson Boulevard lighting: The aldermen approved a resolution supporting the application for the Governor’s Transportation Cost Share Program to help pay for street lights on East Jackson Boulevard between Walmart and Central Junction.
• Election set: The aldermen called for a general municipal election on April 4, 2023, to fill the offices of mayor and board of aldermen.
• Public hearings set: Two public hearings were set for 6 p.m. Monday, Oct. 17.
The first is to consider rezoning property at 385, 389 and 391 Timber Lane from R-1 (single family residential) to an R-4 (general residential) district, as submitted by JWRPM Properties, LLC.
The second is to consider a special use permit for a towing business in a C-2 (general commercial) district located on 1.6 acres at 1383 S. Hope St., as submitted by Land Escapes, LLC.
• Ludwig appointed: The aldermen approved the mayor’s appointment of former City Attorney Tom Ludwig to the 2022 Comprehensive Plan Update Steering Committee.
• Brookside Park restroom and pavilion: The aldermen accepted the $7,000 bid from Daniel’s Roofing and Construction, LLC, of Marble Hill, and authorized a contract to replace the roof on the Brookside Park restroom and pavilion.
• Deerwood Drive roundabout: The aldermen authorized a contract with Lochmueller Group, Inc., of Evansville, IN, to provide engineering services for the roundabout at Hwy. 61 N. and Deerwood Drive.
• Hubble Creek bridge: Three city ordinances were changed regarding stop signs, crosswalks and handicapped parking at the new bridge across Hubble Creek in City Park and at Restroom No. 3 at 606 Cascade Dr.
• Polio: During non-agenda public comments, Rotarian Robin Cole again addressed the aldermen about testing wastewater for the polio virus, as is being done in several major cities around the world. “Polio is back. Now what to do?” he asked.
Cape Girardeau currently has wastewater samples sent to Columbia where it is tested for COVID-19, but Jackson does not, he said.
Beginning in mid-October, the State of Missouri will make available testing for the polio virus in wastewater. He asked the aldermen to consider having Jackson’s wastewater tested.
Mayor Hahs said the City would continue to investigate the matter.
• Savers Farm Subdivision: In study session, the aldermen again discussed the memorandum of understanding between the City and Savers Farm Subdivision, Phases 8 and 9, which are being developed just inside city limits but can only be accessed by going through the remainder of the subdivision, which is outside of city limits. The developer has agreed to build the streets within city limits to city standards and have sidewalks. However, he wants the streets to remain private (with public access) and be maintained by the Home Owners Association just like the streets in the rest of the subdivision.
The memorandum of understanding was set to come before the aldermen for approval Oct. 3.
• Fire Station No. 1: City consultant George Harris gave a report on remodeling of Fire Station No. 1, now that the Police Department has moved out and the Fire Department wants to take over the rest of the building. There are 8,000 square feet of unoccupied space on the main floor and 4,000 square feet unoccupied in the basement.
“The buildings are structurally sound,” he reported. However, “a lot of things are not in good shape” such as HVAC, plumbing, etc.
The administrative offices will move from their present location in a separate building at 503 S. Hope Street into Fire Station 1, and that secondary building will be used as a garage for storage.
The administrative offices will occupy the space where firefighters now have bunks and their bunk rooms will be moved back into where the police station was.
The basement will be used for storage and meeting rooms.
• Other topics: During study session, other topics were discussed, including the possibility of creating a South Old Orchard Road Lateral Sewer District to provide sewer service to that part of the city, making it ready to be developed, soccer park drainage issues, the Hubble Creek Recreation Trail project (Phase 3), and the use of utility vehicles on city streets (questioning if the aldermen wished to pursue this topic).
Also during non-agenda public comments, a resident complained about his neighbor operating a landscaping business from his home in a residential district that he felt was causing “a safety hazard.” He had first reported the problem in May, and he felt the City should have solved the problem by now. “I’ve lost all faith in you people,” he concluded.