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City to cut electric rates 11.5 percent

Customers who buy their electricity from the City of Jackson will very likely see a reduction in rates beginning in July.
During a study session June 1, the Mayor and Board of Aldermen discussed an electric rate decrease that will average 11.5 percent to all of its electric customers.

Jackson is one of a small number of cities that operates its own electric utility.

Adam Young said his firm, 1898 & Co., conducted a regional comparison of rates and found that Jackson’s existing electric rates are higher than many of its peers. By implementing the proposed rate reductions, Jackson will be more competitive in the future and provide rates that are among the lowest in the region.

The electricity which Jackson purchases has become cheaper, and the City will pass along its savings to its customers.

Residential users will see a 10 percent reduction, small businesses will see a reduction of 12.5 percent and large businesses will see a reduction of 15 percent, for an average overall reduction of 11.5 percent.

The Board will accept the results of the study and vote on the rate decrease at the June 15 meeting.

In other action

• Public hearing: Kaci Sparkman was the only one to speak at a public hearing on the voluntary annexation of a property at 357 Timber Lane. She and Todd Johnson want their property to be annexed into the City of Jackson so they could connect to city water and sewer. The Board will vote on the matter July 6.

• Audit: The Board accepted the 2019 City of Jackson Annual Audit Report as prepared by Beussink, Hey, Roe and Stroder, LLC, of Jackson.

Jeff Stroder told the Board that the audit was “very routine” and “free of material misstatements.” The audit received a “clean” opinion.

The audit found no deficiencies, no instances of noncompliance with federal regulations and made no recommendations to the City.

• Deerwood traffic study: The Board accepted the traffic study of the intersection of Deerwood Drive and North High Street, as prepared by Lochmueller Group of St. Louis. While the aldermen were hoping to persuade MoDOT to install traffic signals at that intersection, the study recommends a roundabout at that location.

• Sewer lining: The Board approved a purchase agreement proposal from SAK Construction, LLC of O’Fal-lon in the amount of $97,487.50 for work on the 2020 Sanitary Sewer Lining program.

• Roundabout: It was reported that work on the roundabout at Shawnee Boulevard and East Main Street was nearing completion of Phase 3 (the southwest quadrant). Phase 4 (the southeast quadrant) will begin soon and the roundabout is expected to be completed around July 17.

• Retail update: During study session, Jen Berti, vice president of the Jackson Area Chamber of Commerce, updated the Board on recent retail developments in Jackson.

The new Domino’s Pizza Restaurant on East Jackson Boulevard is expected to open in the late summer.

SEMO Crawfish Co. has delayed its restaurant opening because of COVID-19. The opening date is yet to be determined. It will serve the area with a market plus a restaurant and bar.

Scooter’s Coffee, a drive-thru only coffee shop, is coming next to the Town House Inn on East Jackson Boulevard. It should open in late summer.

Blazin’ Car Wash is going to be built behind Century 21 on East Jackson Boulevard near Walmart. It will open this fall.

L.T.’s Street Tacos is a food truck parked in the Pizza Pro parking lot on West Main Street. Meanwhile, Muchos Tacos is planning to open inside the former Pizza Pro building.

Stooges Restaurant next door is scheduled to reopen this month.

Sappington Pro Outdoor, which moved a short distance into the old Ashley Furniture store on East Jackson Boulevard, is reporting that sales are booming, and the Center Junction construction has not hurt business for them.

• COVID-19: Fire Chief Jason Mouser brought a COVID-19 update to the Board of Aldermen. He said before the pandemic hit Southeast Missouri, each city department was asked to develop a plan that included telecommuting, enhanced cleaning and closing offices. Guidelines were established in case city employees became sick. So far, no city employees have tested positive for COVID-19.

Meetings with the County Health Department were held daily at first, but  then were reduced to twice a week, and now are once a week.

“Much of the city is back in normal operation” he said. There is still an emphasis on social distancing and enhanced disinfection.

Mayor Dwain Hahs added that the County received $9.3 million to cover COVID-19 expenses within the county, and the City of Jackson can submit its COVID-19 related expenses to the County to be reimbursed from those funds.

• Parks: Parks Director Shane Anderson reported that more families were using the City Park during the pandemic than ever before. Although playgrounds are still closed, tennis courts are open, and the Rock in the Park concert scheduled for this past Friday would go on as scheduled.

The municipal pool was slated to open June 8 with a maximum occupancy of 147. It is hoped that increased signage and cleaning plus one-way entrances and exits will help people to maintain social distance and prevent the spread of COVID-19. In addition, chairs and picnic tables will not be available, and hand sanitizer will be everywhere, he said.
Public swim lessons will not be offered this summer, but private lessons will be.

Baseball and softball practices are starting, and the first games scheduled June 15.

An Independence Day celebration is still planned for Saturday, July 4. The day will begin with a fun run as usual. However, there will be no mud volleyball, helicopter rides, golf ball drop or slip-n-slide. There are plans for a car show, food stands, duck race, municipal band concert and fireworks.

• Homecomers: Larry Koehler from the American Legion reported that there are plans to hold Homecomers the last week of August. “We’re proceeding under the assumption that we’ll have Homecomers,” he said.

Invitations have been sent to food vendors and raffle prizes are being organized. However, the carnival ride owner, Joe Sutton, has not operated a carnival since January. Homecomers will be his first carnival this year, if Homecomers is held.

There are so many questions regarding social distancing that Koehler asked for some guidance from the Board of Aldermen. Mayor Hahs said it will ultimately be the County Health Department that will decide if Homecomers can be held and what rules will be in place.

• East Main Street water main work: During study session, the Board discussed doing water main work on East Main Street between Ohio and Neal streets. It would require one-lane traffic westbound on East Main Street and detouring eastbound traffic to other streets. It was decided to delay the project until after the  diverging diamond interchange is completed on East Jackson Boulevard, as Main Street is being used as a detour for that project.

“I hate to see one lane traffic at Center Junction and one lane traffic on East Main at the same time,” said Alderman Paul Sander.

• Parking on South Missouri Street: The Police Department presented a case in study session to eliminate parking on South Missouri Street near the new police station. Police cars exit the station on Missouri Street and parked cars obstruct the view of traffic. The Jackson School District across the street has no objections to eliminating six spaces of on-street parking. The measure will be voted on at the June 15 meeting.

• Power plant masonry project: The Board was updated on a need to work on the masonry at the power plant. “The mortar is falling out between the bricks,” stated Public Works Director Kent Peets.

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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