The Mayor and Board of Aldermen handed over the responsibility for setting rules and regulations for the municipal swimming pool to the Park Board July 7, by amending Chapter 47 of the Code of Ordinances relative to regulations for the Jackson swimming pool.
In other action
• Meeting date change: The Monday, Sept. 6, meeting of the Mayor and Board of Aldermen was moved to Wednesday, Sept. 8, in observance of Labor Day.
• Niederkorn appointed: The Board approved the mayor’s appointment of Marybeth Niederkorn to the Historic Preservation Commission, filling an unexpired term ending in 2024.
• Liquor sales: The Board authorized the sale of intoxicating liquor, malt liquor (beer) and non-intoxicating beer at Oktoberfest, which will be held in Uptown Jackson Oct. 1-2, as requested by the Uptown Jackson Revitalization Organization.
• Ice cream social: The Board approved a resolution supporting the Missouri Bicentennial Ice Cream Social event to be held from 5 to 8 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 10, on the old county courthouse lawn. (For more details, see the mayor’s column on page 5A.)
• Wastewater: The Board approved a $319,000 increase in expenditures to Horner and Shifrin, Inc., of St. Louis, to provide additional engineering work for the Wastewater Facility Plan Implementation Project.
• Asphalt: The Board accepted the $340,817 bid of Black Diamond, LLC, doing business as Paving Pros, LLC, of Oak Ridge, for work on the 2021 Asphalt Pavement Improvement Program. A contract was also authorized.
• Sewer project: The Board accepted the bid of $207,405.50 from CE Contracting and authorized a contract for work on the North Union Avenue and North Industrial Park Sanitary Sewer Project.
• Warranty deed: The Board accepted a general warranty deed from Jackson Industrial Development Company of Jackson for an 8.92-acre tract of land located at 2565 Industrial Drive.
• Abandonment of easements: During study session, the Board discussed abandoning an easement for a lift station and sanitary sewer force main in the Glendale Subdivision. That easement was no longer used by City after a gravity sewer main was built in 2005. This abandonment affects five property owners.
• COVID-19 time off: During study session, the City’s employee policy for sick leave was discussed. At a previous meeting, an employee’s spouse complained that it was unfair of the City to pay for COVID-19 time off if employees were vaccinated, but would not pay for their time off if they were unvaccinated.
Alderman David Hitt said he had reviewed the sick-leave policy of the City and “was very impressed” by it.
City employees can accumulate 90 days of sick leave. If they have a major issue, such as cancer, and use it all up, after six months without a sickness, they get all their accumulated sick leave back.
During the pandemic, the federal government required employers to pay for sick leave for all COVID-19-related absences, up to 80 hours, but that mandate ended Dec. 31.
The City continued to carry that policy into this year but issued a notice to employees that a new policy would take effect July 1. The new policy is an attempt to phase out the federal mandate and return to the normal pre-COVID sick-leave policy.
The new policy states, “Effective July 1, 2021, any employee that has absences related to COVID that has received the vaccine will have their time covered by the City. For unvaccinated employes that have absences related to COVID, personal accumulated leave time will be used. Employees without accumulated leave time will be off without pay.”
The fact that Jackson will continue to cover COVID-related absences for vaccinated employees is a plus for those employees; it is being offered in addition to the City’s generous sick leave policy. “I don’t see that as a penalty for those who don’t get the shot; it’s a reward for those who want to work with the city and get the shot,” Hitt said.
“I think our sick leave policy is very strong,” Alderman Katy Liley agreed. She added that first year employees receive three days of emergency leave per occurrence if they have not accumulated sick leave. So if a first year employee had COVID-19, at least three days would be paid. If their child also contracted CO-VID-19 later as a separate occurrence, they would receive another three days of emergency leave.
“I think there is paid leave, it’s just not the 10-14 days that was agreed upon prior to Dec. 31,” she said.
• Internet tax revenue: City Attorney Tom Ludwig updated the Board on aspects of SB 153, the “Wayfair Bill” recently signed into law, that will tax Internet sales. If the City of Jackson wants to collect use tax from Internet sales, its citizens must approve the matter by passing a ballot measure.
The Board planned to discuss at its next meeting the proposed ballot language and try to get a projection of how much tax revenue Jackson could collect if voters approve the measure.
• Municipal court costs: City Attorney Tom Ludwig also updated the Board on proposed amendments to Chapter 53 of the Code of ordinances regarding changes to court costs.