Jackson’s police/fire complex is currently overcrowded and the Board of Aldermen have begun discussions on how to alleviate the problem.
A new law went into effect Aug. 28 that allows Jackson to set a public safety sales tax. That tax could be used to build a new police station, and the fire department would expand into the entire current building. (The tax also would be used to hire additional police and fire personnel and buy some needed equipment.)
Alderman Joe Bob Baker, co-chair of the Police/Fire Complex Committee, said during a Board of Aldermen study session Sept. 6, that before the public will agree to fund a new police station, the need for it will have to be made clear. Tours may be planned to show how overcrowded the current facility is.
Alderman Tom Kimbel, who serves on the committee with Baker, said the public safety tax legislation now allows Jackson to place a ballot issue before voters next April. The Board will decide in the future whether to go this route.
An engineer has offered his services to the City on a part-time basis to serve as a design-build manager if construction of a new facility is approved.
There are no definite plans for a new police station as yet, but the new law makes it possible for City to fund its construction. The Board, at this time, is discussing its options.
“We’ve got a long way to go,” said City Administrator Jim Roach.
• Uptown lighting project: The Board approved a change order in the amount of $40,059.55 to Nip Kelley Equipment, Inc. of Cape Girardeau, for the Uptown Historic Lighting and Event Power Project. The City added some curbs, concrete and sidewalk pavers to the original plans.
• Fundraising: The Board repealed and deleted Chapter 27 of the Code of Ordinances. This unused section regulated fundraising activities.
• Solid waste: The Board authorized a renewal of its trash dumping agreement with Progressive Waste Solutions of MO. The rate will remain the same as last year (under $41 a ton) for the City to dump its trash at a transfer station. Progressive then hauls the trash to a landfill. According to the contract, rates will increase $1 a ton each year, beginning next October, and continuing until the contract ends in 2024.
• Christmas party: The annual City of Jackson Employee Appreciation and Christmas Party was set for 11 a.m.-1 p.m. Friday, Dec. 15, at the Jackson Civic Center.
• Sanitary sewer: The Board approved a change order in the amount of $9,999.63 to Ace Pipe Cleaning, Inc. of Kansas City, for additional sewer pipe lining. An additional 400 feet of sewer pipe will be lined with a material to prevent sewer leaks that may be caused by cracks, roots growing into the lines, etc.
• City Park: Roach informed the Board that part of Jackson City Park has been barricaded recently to stop traffic and help prevent vandalism that was occurring around some rest rooms. “It has helped with the vandalism,” he reported. Last week was the final week for the barricades.
• City Park rest rooms: In study session, the Board continued discussions regarding the building of a new rest room facility in Jackson City Park near the softball fields next to the pool. Previously, a $330,000 proposal for a modular project was rejected.
Last week , the Board looked at a proposal to place a prefabricated building in the park for $269,700, and cutting the cost to $244,800 if city crews did the work instead of hiring it out.
Because additional rest rooms have also been requested for the band shell (in another section of the park), the Board examined a proposal to run sewer lines from the proposed softball rest rooms and from the band shell to one large lift station, instead of operating several small lift stations in the park.
Although this sewer line project could cost about $300,000, it would open up the possibility for future growth. Additional rest rooms could be added throughout the park if the new sewer line is laid.
“In the long term, this has a lot of merit,” said Alderman Dave Reiminger.
Alderman Larry Cunningham agreed that the project was “definitely long-term.” He said the sooner the work was done, however, the more money the City would save, as costs continue to rise.
Alderman Wanda Young asked if only one side of the V-shaped sewer could be laid (for the new softball rest room facility) and then the other side (to the band shell) could be done in the future. She was told this was possible.
The City will continue to study the issue. Roach summed up the Board’s thoughts when he said the Board was supportive of using a prefabricated rest room and was open to a more expansive sewer line project.
• Wastewater Utility Rate Study: The Board briefly discussed the Wastewater Utility Rate Study. The Kimbeland and Klaus Park projects are eating up the sewer funds and the Sewer Department is looking for a way to accomplish other projects in its facility plan.
• Old Orchard Road: The City of Jackson purchased homes on the 2400 block of Old Orchard Road and had them demolished. Utility lines have been moved. The City is now ready to have the crookedness in that part of the road straightened out. The Board told the city administrator during study session to go ahead with designing that section of roadway. A formal action item will come back to the Board at its next meeting Sept. 18.