The Village of Dutchtown is officially disincorporated and under the jurisdiction of Cape Girardeau County. On March 15, the County Commission adopted an ordinance accepting the final trustee’s report and dissolving the village.
The process began in July 2017, when a town hall meeting was held at the Dutch-town Used Furniture Store and petitions were signed to support ending the village. That petition was presented to the county commissioners in September, and the County appointed Ken Eftink as a trustee to look into the village’s finances in October.
Eftink, who is the floodplain and storm water manager for the County, said the process has been purposefully slow to make sure there were no objections by the village citizens. The County held a final public hearing on Feb. 1, and no one came forward since that hearing to object to the disincorporation.
The community of Dutch-town, which has existed since the early 1800s, incorporated as a village in 1998 with the hope to raise enough funds to do something to prevent further flood damage.
“They worked for years on a levee, but the cost of the levee every time they looked at it was too expensive to operate,” Eftink said. “I think they realized they were never going to have enough money for the levee.”
Since 2000, the village flooded in 2002, 2011, 2013, 2016 and in 2017. Eftink commended the last members elected to the village board for obtaining a Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) flood buyout that allowed citizens to sell their flooded homes and relocate.
“They worked on the buyout and continued to work on it even after they moved out,” Eftink said. “It’s an amazing job that they did for a community that size.”
Eftink added that the remaining citizens of Dutch-town will see little change, except that they will receive help from the Little River Drainage District and the county for future flood relief.
The Little River Drainage District has received the deeds to the buyout lots. The organization will maintain that land and can address any concerns people have with those vacant properties.
“Since Dutchtown is under the jurisdiction of the county floodplain management, we will continue to work with those homes and businesses that flood and see what we can do to get them out of harm’s way,” Eftink said.
Now that the village is disincorporated, Eftink is in the process of sending 20 to 25 letters to different government agencies including the census bureau and the department of revenue.
“The census bureau will update the census map, showing that there is no longer a Village of Dutchtown. That’s what the other state agencies, like the department of revenue, look for,” Eftink said. “The department of revenue will then notify the businesses in Dutchtown that they no longer need to collect the Village of Dutchtown sales tax.”
The village’s documents, including meeting minutes, bank reports and papers related to the flood buyout will be transferred to the Cape Girardeau County Archive Center sometime this week.
Eftink has also transferred the majority of the village’s funds, totaling $100,149, to the county. The county is keeping two accounts open with diminished funds for an additional 90 days. One will be used for any expenses related to the disincorporation, while the other will stay open to receive any remaining funds from the state.
Eftink said once those accounts are closed, his work as trustee and the village’s remaining business will be completed.