Beginning Feb. 1, 2019, City of Jackson residents will see a 2.1 percent increase in their water, sewer and electric rates. The rate increase is tied to the consumer price index adjustment issued annually by the Missouri State Tax Commission.
The Mayor and Board of Aldermen approved the rate increase at the Dec. 17 meeting.
Water has a minimum charge increase of $4.42 to meet the financial obligations of the second of three water bonds. The final increase will come in 2022.
The minimum fee will be $14.49 in town and $28.98 out of town. Usage per 1,000 gallons will be $3.54 in town and $5.75 out of town.
Solid waste pickup rates will remain the same at $6 per month.
In other action:
• Annual budget: the Board approved the 2019 annual budget. The fund balance for Jan. 1, 2019, is expected to be $37,593,887. Receipts for 2019 are expected to total $36,996,742. Disbursements will total $49,719,009. Transfers received and transfers paid both equal $14,246,797. The fund balance as of Dec. 31, 2019, is expected to total $24,871,620.
No one from the public spoke at a public hearing on the budget.
• City employee raises: The Board approved the 2019 City of Jackson Employee Compensation Plan. City employees will average a 3 percent pay increase.
• Police station: The Board accepted the recommendation of the Selection Committee and authorized the City of Jackson to enter into contract negotiations with Penzel Construction of Jackson under the design-build method for the Jackson Police Station Building Project. A contract will be brought before the Board Jan. 7, 2019.
• Annexation: No one spoke against the voluntary annexation of 0.44 acres of property at 4080 S. Old Orchard Road at a public hearing. The request was made by the McKendree Chapel Memorial Association. This property was bought from a developer after the other property owned by the McKendree Chapel Memorial Association was included within the City of Jackson.
• Power line: The Board accepted the bid of $121,861 and awarded a contract to Power Line Consultants, LLC, of Farmington, for its work on the North High Street Electric Line relocation Project.
• Retail Development: The Board reauthorized a contract with the Jackson Area Chamber of Commerce for a Retail Development Cooperative Employment A-greement.
• Public hearings set: Two public hearings were set by the Board for 6 p.m. Monday, Jan. 7. The first is to consider an amendment to Chapter 65 of the code of ordinances, regarding clarification of code wording for text amendments. The second is to consider a special use permit for two attached oversized signs in a C-2 (general commercial) district, located at 2305 E. Jackson Boulevard, as submitted by SNL, LLC (Dexter BBQ).
• Retaining wall: The Board authorized a contractual agreement with the County regarding a memorandum of understanding for a retaining wall on West Washington Street.
• Highway 61: The Board authorized a contractual agreement with the Missouri Highways and Transportation Commission relative to improvements MoDOT will make to Highway 61 between the roundabout and Independence Street (Highway D).
On-street parking on Highway 61 will be eliminated during the construction but will resume when the construction is completed.
• Villas of Jackson: A final plat of Independence Center Sixth Subdivision, as submitted by Villas of West Park was approved.
• Stop sign: A stop sign was approved for Declaration Drive.
• Handicapped parking: Handicapped parking was approved on Parkview Street and in the swimming pool parking lot in Jackson City Park.
• Abandonment of East Jefferson Street: The Board authorized a contract with the Roman Catholic Diocese of Springfield-Cape Girardeau for the abandonment of East Jefferson Street between South Hope and South Ohio streets on the campus of Immaculate Conception Catholic Church and School.
• Use tax: In study session, the Board discussed going to the voters in April 2019 to request that a use tax be instituted in the City of Jackson.
The ballot language was taken straight from state statutes, said City Attorney Tom Ludwig. The Board will vote on the ballot language at the next regular meeting. “I propose using the straight statutory language,” Ludwig said. “We need to pass this on the meeting of the seventh [of January] or else have a special meeting.” To be on the April 2 ballot, the language must be approved by Jan. 22.
Representatives from Bold Marketing discussed how they will educate the citizens of Jackson on the use tax. (Bold Marketing was used to educate the public about the need for a 1/2-cent sales tax increase that was passed by voters last April to fund public safety improvements.)
The use tax is a tax Jackson residents will pay on purchases made out of state. It is not a sales tax increase, not a double tax and will not change the way residents report online purchases, Callie Miller said.
The use tax is being considered because sales tax revenue has been flat.
Revenue from a use tax could add between $600,000 and $750,000 a year to city coffers, and that money could be spent by the City to provide curbside recycling for residents, to build a new swimming pool/aquatic center or to provide street lighting on Highway 61 between Walmart and Buchheit.
“It creates a level playing field for your local businesses and for your city,” Miller said.
• Baseball fields: In study session, Parks Director Shane Anderson announced that The Park Board accepted a donation of $30,000 from a boys baseball league to help create two new baseball diamonds in Brookside Park east of Brookside memorial.
The National Guard did extensive grading of the area in the past, to prepare for one large baseball field. Plans for that field were dropped when the Herzog field was created on Deerwood Drive (next to the Jackson Civic Center). Some additional grading will be needed to create two smaller youth fields in Brookside Park.
The donated funds will be used to finish one field with fencing and stands. The funds cannot be used for roads. The City is doing a lot of work in-house to keep the cost down.
“We’ve started on the roadway,” City Administrator Jim Roach said. “The  budget includes additional money to finish the road and make a parking lot.” The road and parking lot will be gravel.