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City approves budget; utility rates to go up

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Jackson residents can expect to see increases in their utility rates this year, as the Mayor and Board of Aldermen approved the 2020 City of Jackson Annual Budget Dec. 16.

No one from the public spoke at a public hearing on the budget.

The budget includes a 1.9 percent increase for water, sewer and electric rates. The increase is tied to the Consumer Price Index adjustment, issued annually by the Missouri State Tax Commission.

The solid waste pick-up cost includes a $4 increase to meet budgetary needs for the solid waste/landfill fund. The effective bill date for the new rates will be Feb. 1.

The Board also approved the city employee compensation plan for 2020.

In other action

• Limited access land development: The Board passed an ordinance amending Chapter 57 of the Code of Ordinances to allow limited access land development. This allows two properties along the northern border of the City of Jackson to be developed, provided they have access from a public right-of-way (from outside the city). It removes a requirement for them to have access to city streets, since these two properties do not have access to city streets.

At a public hearing, property owner Robert Litzelfelner spoke in favor of approving the ordinance, so he could possibly develop his property.

Alderman Larry Cunning-ham expressed concerns that any development inside city limits that must be accessed through a private development outside of the city limits could lead to future problems. “I don’t like this a bit. I’m going to vote for it. I hope it doesn’t come back and bite me.”

• Power lines: The Board accepted the $25,382.80 bid from Power Line Consultants, LLC, of Farmington relative to the relocation of an electric transmission/distribution line at Center Junction. This is necessary because of the diverging diamond interchange MoDOT is proposing for this location.

• City Archive Preservation Project: The Board rejected the bid of ArcaSearch Corp. of Cold Spring, MN, relative to the City Archive Preservation Project. The bid of $28,365.00 was nearly 42 percent higher than the budgeted amount of $20,000. ArcaSearch was the only bidder.

• New medical offices coming to Jackson: The Board approved a special use permit for a temporary medical office in a C-2 (general commercial) district at 2130 E. Jackson Blvd., as submitted by Saint Francis Medical Center.

The temporary office will be used while the current medical offices on that property are razed and a new, larger two-story modern medical facility is built.

To make more parking available on that property, a new employee and physician parking lot will be constructed behind McDonald’s Restaurant.

• Bridge plan: The Board accepted the Jackson City-Wide Bridge Plan as prepared by Smith & Co. Engineers of Poplar Bluff under MoDOT’s Bridge Engineering Assistance Program.

• Water line: The Board accepted the bid of $189,994 from Jokerst, Inc., of Ste. Genevieve and entered into a contract with the company for the South Old Orchard road Water System Interconnection Project.

• Disposal of biosolids: The Board accepted the bid of Metro-Ag Waste Injection Systems, Inc. of Breese, IL, in the amount of 0.069 cents per gallon relative to the 2020 Biosolids Disposal Program. This involves disposing of bio-solids from the wastewater treatment plant.

• Census marketing program: During study session, Rodney Bollinger, administrative services director for the City, gave a report on the 2020 Census Regional Marketing Program. Jackson has joined Cape Girardeau, Perryville and Sikeston in a combined effort to promote the census and encourage people to respond.

Presentations had been given by KFVS-12 and Rust Media as to how they would promote the census. KFVS-12 was selected, as it projected that its messages would be seen more than 12 million times.

The total cost of the marketing program is $35,000. Based upon population, Jackson’s percentage is 19 percent, so the City will pay $6,500 for the marketing effort.

• Civic Center hours: The Board was updated on new hours for the Civic Center set by the Park Board. Because of low usage during the last hour of the day, it will now close at 8 p.m. instead of 9 p.m. Monday to Friday. This will save the City about $4,000 a year.

Rentals are increasing for the Civic Center. There were more than 900 entries on the 2018 reservation calendar; and there were 1,200 entries on the 2019 calendar.

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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