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City and county join forces to fight darkness in parking lot

In order to bring light to the new county parking lot at 211 N. Missouri St. near the new courthouse, the City of Jackson and Cape Girardeau County have joined forces.

The City’s Board of Aldermen agreed on Dec. 21 to donate four unused light poles to eliminate darkness on the 150’x180’ concrete parking lot that will bring 71 additional parking spots to Uptown Jackson.

The donation includes posts and arms but not the lights themselves. The County will supply the lights.

These posts were removed from Uptown Jackson when historic lighting was installed several years ago. They have been in storage since that renovation project.

The total value of the donation is estimated to be $2,000 ($500 per pole).

The County will be responsible for installing and maintaining the lights, as well as paying for the ongoing energy costs.

In other action

• Annual budget: No one from the public spoke at a public hearing on the proposed 2021 City of Jackson annual budget.

Later, in action items, the Board of Aldermen approved the budget, along with the solid waste, sewer, water and electric utility service rate schedule and City of Jackson employee compensation plans as part of the budget.

Utility rates will increase an average of 2.3 percent as of Feb. 1, 2021, because rates are tied to the consumer price index adjustment.

• MAGNET: The Board extended its contract with Cape Area MAGNET and approved the appointment of Mayor Dwain Hahs to serve on the MAGNET Board of Directors for a one-year term, beginning January 2021.

• Biosolids disposal: The Aldermen approved an extension to a contract between the City and Metro-Ag Waste Injection Systems, Inc., of Breese, IL, for disposing of biosolids.

• Sidewalks for Mary Street: The Board of Aldermen approved a resolution in support of applying for a grant from the Missouri Department of Transportation to complete sidewalks on West Mary Street to a new low-water bridge over Hubble Creek. (The new bridge is yet to be built.)

• Land donation: The Board accepted the donation of 1.44 acres of real estate at Brookside Park from Robert and Cynthia Lichtenegger.

• Sewerage: The Board amended Chapter 41 of the Code of Ordinances regarding sewerage.

• Abandonment of a portion of access and parking easement: During study session, the Board discussed a request to abandon a portion of an access and a parking easement in Skinny’s Subdivision as requested by Connie Heberlie and Marty Platz. This will allow the new Blazin’ Car Wash to place a pylon sign in the parking lot of Century 21, near Walmart.

A public hearing will be set for Jan. 20.

• Community college: Rich Payne gave a presentation on why this area needs a community college. For details, see the mayor’s column on page 5.

• Paved driveway in right-of-way: During study session, the Board discussed a driveway that was paved in a public right-of-way on South Georgia Street.

The homeowner’s property line runs along the entrance to his basement garage. In the past, he had a gravel driveway between his garage and the street, on the public right-of-way. The homeowner had a paving contractor pave his drive and assumed the contractor would take care of obtaining all permits necessary. The contractor failed to do so. Building permits could not be issued by the City because the driveway is on public right-of-way.

Because the driveway was paved on a right of way, the City had the right to ask that it be removed at the owner’s expense, since it currently violates city ordinances.

The only way the driveway could remain is if the Board of Aldermen made an exception in this case.

Alderman Paul Sander asked what advantage there would be to having the driveway removed. That would benefit no one. The Board agreed to have a resolution drafted permitting the paved driveway. However, the City would have no financial responsibility to repair the drive if it ever became damaged while doing utility work in the right of way.

The driveway would also be subject to easements.

• Repeal of on-street parking on North Missouri Street: During study session, the aldermen discussed a request from the County to remove a few parking spots along North Missouri Street near the new courthouse, to improve sight distance when vehicles exit the new parking lot and the Sheriff’s parking lot across the street.

Affected property owners will be notified of this request and the matter will come back to the Board.

• Indian Hills street lights: The Board looked at six possible locations to install street lights in the Indian Hills subdivision. While there are some street lights in the subdivision, most of it is dark, and some of the residents have complained.

The six lights would cost $30,000 to install, without counting City labor, equipment, easements, and surveying.  If all the costs are added up, the total could be as high as $60,000.

Today, developers must install street lights to meet current standards (and pay for them). When Indian Hills was developed, the requirements were not the same as they are today.

“The problem with installing street lights is people don’t like them,” said Kent Peetz, public works director. “You put them in, and I promise you, someone won’t like them.”

City Administrator Jim Roach suggested having a public hearing and getting feedback up front before proceeding with plans to install any of these street lights.

• Williams Creek Sanitary Sewer Extension project: Peetz informed the Board that on Dec. 15, bids were received and opened for the Williams Creek Sanitary Sewer Extension project, phase 2, which will put a manhole on the north side of East Main Street near I-55. Four bids were received, with the cost estimates ranging from $676,731.60 to $1,135,407.50 (for the base bid only).

An engineer’s estimate listed a cost estimate of $942,185.00 for the base bid.

City staff recommended the project be awarded to the low bidder, CE Contracting, Inc., of Ste. Genevieve.

• Jackson mural: Rodney Bollinger, administrative services director, said the Grant Lund mural on East Main Street has faded. In 2012, Craig Thomas was hired to refurbish it, which he did for $5,600. He has agreed to scrape it, prime it, and repaint it this year for $5,200.

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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