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City seeks bond issue for wastewater plant upgrades

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Jackson voters will be asked to approve a $10.1 million revenue bond issue on the Aug. 2 ballot. The funds raised from the bond sale will be used to repair, rebuild and replace some of the aging infrastructure and to expand the existing 33-year-old equipment at the city’s wastewater treatment plant.

At the June 20 meeting of the Mayor and Board of Aldermen, a representative from BOLD Marketing appeared during study session to give an update on plans to educate the public about this issue.

There will be no tax increase if the matter is approved by voters, but city utility bills will go up to pay off the bonds. A Jackson household that uses an average of 5,000 gallons of water per month will see a rate increase from $31.41 to $34.56 in 2023. A Jackson business using an average of 20,000 gallons of water will see its rate increase from $83.16 to $91.48.

The improvements to be made and their estimated costs are:

• Sludge treatment upgrades, $4,233,500.

• Building additions and upgrades, $948,000.

• Plant SCADA, $65,000.

• Plant structural rehabilitation, $279,000.

• Oxidation ditch upgrade, $1,772,000.

• Screw pump rehabilitation, $1,133,000.

• Splitter Box Wier, $40,000.

• Clarifier rehabilitation, $1,104,000.

• Flow monitoring, $100,000.

• 8” water line extension, $370,000.

• Plan amendment, $15,000.

These improvements must be made sometime in the future. City officials believe the time is now. Putting off theseimprovements could lead to expensive emergency repairs or the treatment plant reaching its maximum capacity.

Brian Gerau, president and CEO of the Jackson Area Chamber of Commerce, said the Chamber supports this bond request.

Printed material with facts and figures will be distributed prior to the election. City officials will give presentations to various service groups.

Tours of the aging wastewater treatment plant will be offered at 4 and 5:30 p.m. Thursday, July 21, so the public can see how needed these repairs and improvements are. (For more information, see the mayor’s column on page 5A.)

In other action

• Liquor licenses: The Board of Aldermen approved the sale of intoxicating liquor, malt liquor (beer) and nonintoxicating beer at the Heartless concert at the Nick Leist Memorial Band Shell in Jackson City Park on Saturday, July 2, and at the July 4 celebration at Shelter No. 1 in City Park. Both requests were made by Stooges.

• I-55 substation: The aldermen accepted the $1.433 million bid of Power Grid Company of Fayetteville, GA, for the I-55 Electric Substation Build-Out Project, and authorized a contract.

The Board also accepted the $1,310,960.84 bid from Power Line Consultants, LLC, of Farmington, for the I-55 Electric Substation Transmission and Distribution Line Project, and authorized a contract.

• Utility easement deed: The aldermen accepted the dedication a utility easement deed from the Michelle Doughten Revocable Trust.

• Community Outreach Board: The Board approved the mayor’s appointment of Cindy Lichtenegger to the Community Outreach Board, filling an unexpired term ending in 2025.

• Public hearing set: The Board set a public hearing for 6 p.m. Monday, July 18, to consider a special use permit for a high-density mixed residential development in a C-2 (general commercial) district at 957 W. Independence St., as submitted by Brennon Todt.

• East Main Street sidewalk/trail: The Board authorized a resolution supporting a grant application to MoDOT to build a sidewalk/trail along East Main Street between Bellevue Street and Shawnee Boulevard.

• Senior Center: The Board authorized a memorandum of understanding with the Jackson Senior Center Foundation relative to American Rescue Plan Act funds.

The funds will be used to replace kitchen equipment that is unreliable (a stove, steam table and dishwasher), replace a 10-year-old van used for meal deliveries, and to cover increased operational expenses including payroll and food costs.

• Application for state ARPA funds: The Board gave the green light to apply for $5 million in state ARPA funds for improvements to the wastewater treatment facility. The City also plans to apply for $200,000 in assistance to comply with the Lead Service Line Inventory requirements of the Federal Lead and Copper Rule Revisions (LCRR). If these pro-jects are determined to be eligible for the ARPA grant program, the City will then apply for approximately $3 million to upgrade the water treatment plant and the construction of a new northeast water tower.

• Purchase of real estate: The aldermen approved the purchase of a tract of land at 2000 N. High Street from Nabors Land Developers, LLC. for $144,000. The property is at the southeast corner of East Deerwood Drive and U.S. Hwy. 61 N.

The aldermen also authorized the payment of $3,810 to Koehler Engineering & Land Surveying, Inc., of Cape Girardeau for engineering services for an environmental site assessment and boundary survey for this property.

• Electric carts on city streets: Jackson resident Deane Sprout appeared before the aldermen to state that he had purchased an electric cart, similar to a golf cart but with headlights, tail lights, seat belts and a horn. He went to the police department to ask if it were legal to drive it on city streets and he was told it was not.

Sprout told the aldermen that he saw a need for allowing electric carts on city back streets where the speed limit is 30 mph or less.

“I think it’s an opportunity for the City of Jackson to help people,” he said. “I can’t afford a $55,000 electric car but I can afford a cart that’s electric.”

The Board of Aldermen had discussed allowing ATVs and UTVs on city streets back in March 2020 under the prodding by Alderman Larry Cunningham. Cunningham dropped the matter after discussing it with Jackson Police Chief James Humphreys.

Sprout said with the price of gasoline skyrocketing, there was more reason than ever to reconsider the issue of allowing electric carts on public side streets.

He said allowing electric carts on public streets could become a money-maker for the City. Jackson could require that stickers be purchased to affix to the cart to show it’s authorized for street use, and electric carts must be recharged, generating additional revenue for city utilities.

The aldermen agreed to discuss the matter at a future study session.

• Basketball fundraiser: The aldermen were informed that the Park Board approved a special event permit for Josh Lukefahr to hold a basketball tournament fundraiser on July 2 to raise funds to refurbish the city’s basketball courts.

• Mary Street low-water bridge replacement: City Engineer Anna Bergmark informed the Board that three bids were received for work on replacing the Mary Street low-water bridge over Hubble Creek. The low bid was from Putz Construction, LLC, at $1,643,870.58, which is 4.6% above the engineer’s estimate for the project.

Construction costs are up industry-wide due to higher material costs, increased labor costs, labor shortages, increased fuel costs and higher than normal inflation, so this bid is considered “a reasonable price,” she said.

Work on the Mary Street bridge will begin after the company finishes the Hubble Creek ford replacement bridge in City Park.

• Paving: Two bids were received for the 2022 asphalt paving improvement program. Staff recommended awarding both the base bid and two alternates to Paving Pros Inc, for $346,960.80. The Board will take formal action at a future meeting.

• Roundabout at Deer-wood and Hwy. 61 N: Seven companies submitted qualification packages for the design consultant for a roundabout to be built at Deerwood Drive and U.S. Hwy. 61 N. The Lochmueller Group has been selected as the preferred design consultant.

• Public hearing proposal: During study session, the Board discussed changing the public hearing procedure.

Applications of rezonings or text amendments require public hearings to be held. Currently, the Planning and Zoning Commission has the flexibility to decide whether to have a public hearing. The Board of Aldermen must have one. So some matters could have two public hearings (if the P&Z Commission chooses to have one).

State law requires one hearing to be held. Some people have complained about having to go through two public hearings.

After some discussion, the aldermen decided to keep the procedure as it is. They felt it was best to allow the P&Z Commission the opportunity to hold a public hearing if it deemed necessary, and they felt it was important to hold public hearings at the level of the Board of Aldermen.

• Fire Department facilities evaluation: The Board received a report on the status of Fire Station No. 1, which will be remodeled now that the police department has moved out.

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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