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Cape County sets property tax rates

The Cape Girardeau County Commission approved tax rates for the county government, including a general revenue tax rate of $0.0581 per $100 assessed valuation, during its tax rate public hearing on Aug. 24.

The county’s general revenue tax rate, which fluctuates each year, includes a property tax reduction based on sales tax collection in the county. This year’s rate is up slightly from the past two years – with last year’s rate of $0.0576 and a rate of $0.0580 in 2021.

“We offset our property tax with the sales tax we collect,” Presiding Commissioner Clint Tracy said. “That was as a result of a vote in 1979.”

The tax rate for senior services stayed at $0.0479, the mental health tax rate stayed at $0.0773 and the Senate Bill 40 tax rate stayed at $0.0554. The road and bridge tax rate remains at $0, as it has been since the county’s proposition 1 sales tax funding passed in 2006.

Assuming taxes are fully collected, the county is expected to raise $995,566 in general revenue, $820,785 for senior services, $1,324,565 for mental health services and $949,300 for Senate Bill 40 services for individuals with developmental disabilities.

In other action

• Construction of the new addition to the Cape Girardeau County Jail is continuing, with the second wall pour completed and Penzel Construction Company continuing work of footings for the expansion. In addition, construction of the new jail cells is expected to begin off-site next month.

Commissioner Paul Koeper said around 90 percent of the floor plans for the renovation to the historic 1908 county courthouse in Jackson have been finalized, and work on the new parking lot on Cherry Street is completed.

Construction of the new emergency operation center is still in the planning stages, but construction is still expected to be completed next spring. A groundbreaking ceremony is expected to take place late September.

In addition, the concrete work for the recreational trail around the South County Park Lake is completed. Work is still ongoing to add a new restroom facility near the lake.

• Charles Wilson was hired as the new emergency management assistant director. The former assistant director, Sam Herndon, took over as director of the department after the retirement of Mark Winkler. Wilson began working for the county on Aug. 1.

• The commission accepted the resignation/retirement letter from Cape Girardeau County Transit Authority Director Tom Mogelnicki, effective Sept. 30. Mogelnicki has been the director of CGCTA since April 2007.

• The commission approved a motion to begin the process of writing an ordinance to provide a Chapter 100 taxing program to the NextEra Energy’s Lutesville Solar Project in Delta. Ellis, Ellis, Hammons & Johnson, along with Gilmore Bell, was tasked with writing the proposed ordinance.

Because of a change made by the Missouri Supreme Court last year moving solar project from exempt to non-exempt status for tax purposes, NextEra would like to enter a Chapter 100 program. Under Chapter 100, taxes would be negotiated at the local level instead of potentially going to the state level.

The Lutesville Solar Project is a proposed 200-megawatt solar facility with a $297 million capital investment. NextEra is currently marketing to energy customers, and construction is expected to begin in the second half of 2024.

• Construction work on County Road 261 had to be redone due to rain and flooding damage in August. Dirt work and reseeding for the project was needed after the damage.

“Three days after it was completed, seeded it and had everything was dressed up to be one of the better jobs that we had, we had anywhere from eight to 11 inches of rain,” Commissioner Paul Koeper said. “It just tore the job up and it all washed away.”

The commission approved a change order of $35,000 for Donald Bond Construction to come back to the project and fix the road after the heavy rain.

A large culvert on County Road 392 also needed to be replaced due to the rain and flooding damage. The commission approved an emergency purchase of a replacement metal culvert from Contech for $15,523.

• The commission approved several vehicle/equipment purchases for next year, mostly for the highway department. “If you are going to buy something now, you have to buy it a year ahead of time and sometimes a year and a half in advance,” Commissioner Paul Koeper said.

The commission approved the purchase of two Caterpillar 120 Motor Graders for $155,808 each, including the buyback of the county’s current motor graders. Koeper said the county is expected to receive the new motor graders late summer 2024.

A new John Deere 6120M Tractor with a mount mower attachment was approved at a cost of $195,694. The tractor is expected to be delivered in May 2024, and will replace a 10-year-old tractor and mower.

The commission also approved being entered into a lottery to purchase two new Ford F250 pickup trucks at the state contract price of $52,690 each and a Ford F350 pickup truck for the parks department at the state contract price of $66,065. Koeper said the purchases wouldn’t be made until next summer, and the county would hopefully know if they would be able to purchase the trucks by the end of this year.

• The commission approved a salt bid from Show Me Truck for $100.50 per ton. Show Me Truck was the lowest of three bids, with Morton Salt Company and Compass Minerals also bidding. Koeper said they estimate that the county will purchase around 300 tons of salt this year.

• The commission extended its contract with Otis Elevator for elevator maintenance. The cost to service all eight elevators maintained by the county was $48,829 – a 3.5% increase from last year.

• The commission purchased a new transfer switch for the generator at the Cape Girardeau County Administration Building. Koeper said the switch has gone out and was not replaced when a new generator was installed around five years ago. The transfer switch cost $7,898.

• The commission approved the sale of its former fuel tank and dispenser. The county purchased a new fuel tank in August last year, which was recently delivered to the county. Koeper said the old fuel tank had been removed and cleaned.

• The commission approved an annual agreement with the Missouri Department of Conservation for the County Aid Road Trust (CART) program. The cost-share program provides funding to the county for maintenance of public roadways serving Missouri Department of Conservation areas.

Jay Forness covers education, county government and community events for The Cash-Book Journal. He graduated from Southeast Missouri State University with a degree in multimedia journalism and has lived in Jackson for the past five years. He can be reached at

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