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City approves payment for 911 softwore, consoles

by Gregory Dullum ~ Editor

Combined 911 dispatch services between the City of Jackson and Cape Girardeau County came a step closer to reality Aug. 5, when the Jackson Board of Aldermen approved the City’s part of purchasing software and consoles.

The Board approved the reimbursement of $75,000 to the County for the purchase of 911 software for the Central Dispatch Center.

In a related item, the Board approved the reimbursement up to $515,000 to the County of Cape Girardeau for the purchase of consoles.

In other action:

• Rezoning: The Board held a public hearing to consider the rezoning of 2370 N. High St. from C-2 (general commercial) to I-1 (light industrial, as submitted by MAMCO Investments, LLC.

No one spoke in opposition to the rezoning.

Mark Guilliams, one of the owners of MAMCO, said he had a potential tenant for his building, but the tenant needed the ability to do some light welding, and that required the zoning change. This company will have 30-40 employees.

Guilliams could not disclose the name of the potential tenant. He said he wanted to have the property ready for him to move in. Guilliams is expecting a decision from the potential tenant to move to this location in September.

The Board later in the meeting voted to approve the rezoning request.

• Brookside Park: The Board authorized Koehler Engineering & Land Surveying, Inc., of Cape Girardeau to provide engineering services for the Brookside Park Topographic Survey Project.

• Small cell phone service: The Board approved an ordinance amending the Code of Ordinances by adding Chapter 14 (Wireless Communications Infrastructure Deployment) relative to small cell wireless facilities.

• Preliminary plan reapproved: The annual re-approval of the preliminary plat of Jackson North Industrial Park was made by the Board.

• Liquor license: The Board approved a retailers of malt liquor (beer) by drink, 5% license to Don Carlos Tres, 1901 East Jackson Blvd. The Mexican restaurant is located in the old Dexter BBQ building and is now open for business.

Roundabout: The Board accepted the dedication of a utility and stormwater drainage easement deed from the William J. Penrod Revocable Trust and a right of way deed dedication and temporary construction easement deed from Bensworth Properties, LLC. Both were related to the construction of roundabout at Shawnee Blvd. and East Main St.

In study session, Dave Christensen of PE/Cochran gave an update on progress for the roundabout. He mentioned that all rights of way had now been acquired by the City.

During construction of the roundabout, one lane of East Main will remain open. Two-way traffic will pass through the intersection using one lane. Shawnee Boulevard north of Main Street will be closed during the entire construction period.

Construction will begin in the northwest quadrant. It will move in phase 2 to the southwest quadrant, then to phase 3 in the southeast quadrant, before finishing up with phase 4 in the northeast quadrant of the intersection.

Christensen recommended that the City bid out the project this winter and have construction start in the spring. Contractors are busy at this time, so if the project goes out for bid now, the bids will come back higher than if they are made in January when Contractors are looking for work to do during 2020.

In addition to getting more competitive bids, there is a better chance that weather will not hold up construction if it is done in the spring instead of winter.

“Our desire is to get this done before spring, before the diverging diamond,” said City Administrator Jim Roach.

No one knows for sure when work will begin on the diverging diamond intersection, forcing drivers to seek alternate routes, such as East Main St. It was the City’s hope to get the roundabout completed before detour traffic has to use the East Main/Shawnee intersection.

Christensen said if the City bids the project this fall and bad weather delays it, work may end up being done next spring anyway. He recommended that the City plan for spring construction on the roundabout. And if the diverging diamond construction sends detour traffic to Shawnee and East Main, the roundabout construction could be put on hold for a year.

• Diverging diamond: In a related issue, Kent Peetz, director of Public Works, updated the Board on progress with the diverging diamond I-55/U.S. Hwy. 61 interchange. He expects MoDOT to present its final plan at the Southeast Metropolitan Planning Organization (SEMPO) meeting Aug. 21. MoDOT is running out of time for discussion if it wants to bid out the project this November.

• City employee health insurance: Jeff Bierman of Swinford and Associates presented a report on usage of the city health insurance plan for employees and their families. The City switched Jan. 1 to United Healthcare with no disruption of service. “It has gone extremely well,” he said.

So far this year, claims are down compared to last year. If the trend continues, the City can expect good premium rates when it renews in January.

“We’re having a good year,” said Roach.

• Park pavilion: During study session, the Board discussed replacing Pavilion No. 5 in City Park. It was damaged by the June 21 storm.

City Engineer Clint Brown gave a broad estimate of $42,000-$48,000 to restore the building to basically its current size. The building would be an upgrade because it would be steel instead of wood, which would make it stronger and have lower maintenance.

A second plan would be to enlarge the 20x30 floor plan to 26x36 feet. Capacity would increase from 50 to 70. The cost for this would be $57,000-$62,000.

A third option would be to double the current capacity to 100 at a cost of $70,000-$75,000.

Roach said this was an opportunity to build a bigger and better pavilion, perhaps one with an adjoining rest room. If the City goes this route, it will need to hire an architect.

The City will be reimbursed about $20,000 for the shelter that was destroyed. Some civic organizations have expressed interest in donating toward a better shelter. By bundling the insurance money, donations from civic organizations, and possibly a grant such as one that was received for Brookside Park, the City could build a better shelter with rest rooms for little out-of-pocket expense.

Parks and Recreation Director Shane Anderson was asked about the opinion of the Parks Board. He said the Board wants to have its pavilion back.

He added that the number one question he is asked when people are reserving a pavilion is if it has a rest room or how close it is to one. He said he would like to see every new pavilion that is built in the future include a rest room.

City staff was given instructions to contact the civic organizations to see how much money they wished to contribute and to report back.

• Tax rate: Larry Koenig told the Board that the city’s tax rate would remain the same at .8594 per $100 assessed valuation. The city has grown, so the number of assessments has increased, which will produce more tax revenue.

• Clean-Up, Fix-Up: The Board was updated on the City’s plan to convert Clean-Up Fix-Up week from a one-week event to something residents can schedule throughout the year.

Every resident will get one free special pickup per calendar year per residence. Special pickups can be scheduled for Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays. Reservations must be made by 3 p.m. the day before.

If residents want more than one pickup per year, they must pay for them with a minimum of a $50 charge. This has not changed from current rules.

The plan will go into effect Jan. 1, 2020. The Board of Aldermen will be asked to approve this plan at its next meeting Aug. 19.