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City and county agree to combine 911 service

Sometime next year, the 911 dispatch services of Cape Girardeau County and the City of Jackson will be combined into one service at the county location.

Jackson City Administrator Jim Roach told The Cash-Book Journal that combining 911 service is expected to be more efficient, providing both a cost savings and better service, than having two 911 dispatch offices within the same city.

“It will be a county facility with county employees,” Roach said. “the City will contract with the county.”

Cape County commissioners agreed to combine 911 dispatch services at their Nov. 16 meeting. On Nov. 20, the Jackson Mayor and Board of Aldermen approved the contractual agreement with the county to combine 911 services.

A Central Dispatch Center Advisory Board has been established to work through the details. Both county and city employees will serve on the advisory board. The Board of Aldermen approved the mayor’s appointment of Aldermen Joe Bob Baker, Police Chief James Humphreys and Fire Chief Jason Mouser to be the City’s representatives on the Board.

In other action:

• Building Code: “We need to update our code,” Janet Sanders, building and planning superintendent, told the Mayor and Board of Aldermen during its study session. “We have got our studying all done. We will have ordinances prepared by next meeting [Dec. 4]. It will be effective Jan. 1.”

International Codes are updated every three years. The following codes are expected to be adopted:

• 2015 International Building Code;
• 2015 International Residential Code (for one and two-family dwellings);
• 2015 International Plumb-ing Code;
• 2015 International Mechanical Code;
• 2015 International Fuel Gas Code;
• 2015 International Fire Code;
• 2015 International Swimming Pool and Spa Code;
• 2015 International Existing Building Code; and
• 2014 National Electric Code.

• Uptown Jackson Revitalization Organization: Mayor Hahs reported in study session that he met with Tyler Wolfsberger, vice president of the UJRO, regarding his request for $30,000 in funding from the City for 2018 (up from $15,000 this year). Hahs proposed that the funding be increased in steps. Next year the City may boost its funding to $20,000 and continue to provide in-kind services from the Police Department (providing safety at events), Electric Department (setting up lights), etc.

Hahs requested that the City’s seat on the UJRO Board become a voting seat, the same as MAGNET’s seat. That change would require changing UJRO’s bylaws.

“As we go into ’18, the City of Jackson and the Uptown group will look at parking,” Hahs said. “We’ll look at what parking we have, where we have issues, and what we can do.” There is a perception that it’s had to shop Uptown because of parking problems, and Hahs wants to “take that perception away.”

The Board of Aldermen will take action on agreements with the UJRO at the last meeting in December.

• Meeting date changes: Because of holidays, the Board of Aldermen changed its Jan. 1 meeting to Jan. 8 and its Jan. 15 meeting to Jan. 22.

• Park Board appointment: The Board approved the mayor’s appointment of Mary Brooke Tarpley to the Park Board, filling an unexpired term, ending May 2020.

• Insurance: The Board agreed to have Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield provide the 2018 city employees insurance plan.

• Sales tax outreach: The Board agreed to pay BOLD marketing of Cape Girardeau $15,000 to help educate the public about the City’s need for a half-cent sales tax to pay for public safety improvements. The issue will be on next April’s ballot.

• Code of Ordinances changed: The Board approved a bill to change Chapter 55 of the Code of Ordinances regarding when traffic control devices are required, excavation permits and backfill requirements.

• Sidewalk repair: As a non-agenda citizen input item, Tom Sperling complained that in the year 2000 he had to pay $950 for a sidewalk repair in front of his home, even though the sidewalk is beyond his property line. Now the City repairs sidewalks at no cost to home-owners. He asked the City to reimburse him for the cost of the concrete. “I’m out nearly $1,000 for maintaining a sidewalk that’s not on my property,” he said.

City Administrator Jim Roach explained that in 2005, the City modified the Code to allow the City to pay for sidewalk repairs as part of street repair. It is paid for by the transportation sales tax fund. Prior to 2005, it was the responsibility of homeowners to repair sidewalks in front of their properties.

Mayor Dwain Hahs said he would take the matter “under advisement.”

Alderman Dave Reiminger asked, “Can we find out how many were done prior to 2005?” Roach said the City did not do repairs prior to 2005. “We can tell you how many we did since 2005.” He promised to report back with that number.

• MAGNET: During study session, John Mehner, director of Cape Girardeau Area MAGNET, gave an annual update of his organization. He praised the relationship between MAGNET and the City of Jackson. “We have interaction that’s friendly and open; the way it should be,” he said.

MAGNET currently is working on 17 active projects that could bring 520 jobs to the area. Nine projects have fallen off the active list and one project was lost to the State of Arkansas.

“It has been a good year; a successful year,” he summarized.

Mehner said he is not an advocate for or against the “Right to Work” legislation, but noticed that when it became law in Missouri, “manufacturing picked up.” Now that it is being challenged and the future of Right to Work is in limbo, “we had two projects that were active go away.”

Mehner was asked by Alderman Dave Hitt if a new Veterans Administration facility is coming to the area. Mehner said MAGNET had worked on the project for 2-1/2 years before the VA dropped plans to build a facility in this area. However, he has been told by the VA in Kansas City that it may be re-issuing that project. Mehner is waiting to hear an official word.

• City stormwater consultant: Nine firms submitted their qualifications; three were interviewed and City  staff was still debating who to hire. A recommendation will be ready for the next meeting (Dec. 4). It is hoped to get the firm under contract this year and work will begin next year.

• Improvements to Route D, PP & West Main Street: The Missouri Department of Transportation has informed the City that it plans to resurface Highway D with asphalt for two miles within the City of Jackson in the spring of 2018. Resurfacing will continue another mile beyond the city limits to Cane Creek. Shoulders will widened by two feet.

MoDOT also will resurface Highway PP from West Main Street to County Road 324, and widen the shoulders by two feet.

West Main Street from Farmington Road to Highway 72 has been under MoDOT’s jurisdiction since 1958. MoDOT has agreed to resurface this portion of Main Street with asphalt at no cost to the City in exchange for the City taking ownership of it afterward. “We get a brand new street at no cost to us,” Roach told the Board. “None of this is coming out of our pocket.”

• Shipping containers: Sanders reported that the Planning and Zoning Commission voted not to allow shipping containers to be used in residential construction. The Commission is still deciding what they can be used for. It may take two more meetings to conclude discussions, she estimated.

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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