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Cape Girardeau County passes preliminary budget, over $3 million planned for capital improvements

The Cape Girardeau County Commission passed a preliminary 2021 budget after a public hearing was held on Monday, Dec. 28. County Auditor Pete Frazier said this preliminary budget will be used as an operational budget until the final budget is approved in January. The final budget will use the exact balances of county accounts at the end of the year.

The preliminary general revenue budget for 2021, which covers most county offices, totals $12.5 million in budget appropriations. This total is $1.16 less than this year’s budgeted general revenue expenditures.

The County is expected to receive $7.5 million through sales taxes and over $3 million through other revenue sources. The County is also expecting to start the year with around $3.5 million in the general revenue fund.

County Commissioner Paul Koeper made a motion during the Dec. 28 meeting to leave $1.5 million unbudgeted in the County’s general revenue fund, and use the remaining $3.1 million previously unencumbered in the budget for capital improvement projects.

The County approved a capital improvements plan in 2018 that outlined potential capital improvement projects the county might take on in the next five years. Renovating the old Jackson courthouse was originally scheduled for 2021 in the plan, while remodeling the Administrative Building and replacing election equipment was scheduled for 2022 in the plan.

Frazier said the Commission would receive more detailed information about possible capital improvement projects and available funds before the final budget was approved.

The road and bridge budget was set at $4.96 million; the sheriff’s budget was set at $12 million, and the assessment budget was set at $1.04 million.

In other action:

• The County approved two final requests for CARES Act funding. The Jackson R-2 School District will receive an additional $130,712 and the New McKendree United Methodist Church received $4,484.

As of Dec. 16, $790,000 of the county’s $9.25 million CARES Act funds remained to be issued. Approved funding recipients must submit receipts to the County to be reimbursed.

Koeper said the County will wrap up CARES funding by mid-January, with the remaining receipts due from funding recipients at the beginning of the new year. Some funding recipients, including schools, used CARES Act funds to add additional staff members that work through the end of 2020.

• The County approved a certificate of completion on the $4 million project to update the HVAC system at the sheriff’s office and jail.

• The commissioners approved bridge replacements on County Road 420 and 436, using road and bridge construction funds.

• County Road 452 was approved to be paved and adjusted. A property owner donated land around the county road that will allow the county to eliminate two 90-degree turns and straighten the road. The 0.6 miles approved to be paved will be added on to the County Road 453 project. Koeper said that project is scheduled for a “couple years down the road.”

• The County approved a $274,000 bid from Eagle-View Technologies for aerial photography of county properties in 2021. Assessor Bob Adams said the County takes aerial photography of the county every three years, and the cities of Cape Girardeau and Jackson have typically helped pay for some of the photography costs.

“It’s a tool that several county and city agencies use, aside from the public,” Adams said. He added that this year’s photography will be clearer than previous image captures of the county.

• The County approved a bid for new playground equipment and rubber mulch surfacing at shelter 20 and 21 in Cape Girardeau County Park South. An $80,000 bid from Hutchinson Recreation and Design was approved on Nov. 23. County Park Superintendent Bryan Sander said the County has received a grant that will cover half the cost of the project, including labor costs estimated at $15,000.

• The commissioners approved the County to apply for a recreational trails grant, which would cover 80 percent of the total cost to extend the sidewalk and add a restroom by the lake at Cape Girardeau County Park South. If the County receives the grant, it would receive the funds at the end of next year and the work would be done in 2022.

• The County accepted a repayment of a promissory note from the unincorporated village of Dutchtown. Koeper said the promissory note, totaling $8,000, was issued to the now-unincorporated village in 1988 to help fund a flood control study with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

Koeper said the repayment will come out of the $100,149 of funds the county received from the village when it disincorporated in 2018. Koeper said the county still has around $80,000 to $90,000 from the Dutchtown unincorporation, but they are holding those funds to be used for issues in the Dutchtown area.

Jay Forness covers education, county government and community events for The Cash-Book Journal. He graduated from Southeast Missouri State University with a degree in multimedia journalism and has lived in Jackson for the past four years. He can be reached at cbjedit@socket.net.

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