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City gives Falcon 60-day extension

Tuesday, February 5, 2002

SIKESTON - With a long-term cable television franchise agreement yet to be reached, Sikeston city council members approved a 60-day extension of the current franchise agreement with Falcon Telecable, doing business as Charter Communications.

The agreement was extended through April 2 during Monday's regular city council meeting.

Yearly extensions of the franchise agreement have been used for nearly 10 years, but Dave Huntsman, general manager for Charter Communications in Sikeston, has said on previous occasions that his company was hoping to reach a 10-year franchise agreement with the city.

The current franchise agreement, which is nearly 20 years old, needs to be updated, according to Huntsman.

Charter Communications purchased Falcon Cable in November 1999.

In other Sikeston City Council business:

* Council members agreed to allow the Delta Area Economic Opportunity Corporation to name Sikeston as its sponsor for a Community Development Block Grant.

In a letter to the city manager, Tasha Treece, DAEOC housing director, explained the funds are being sought to rehabilitate a building to house the Head Start center.

The Sikeston Head Start is the largest Head Start center in DAEOC's six-county service area, according to Treece.

Head Start is in the process of purchasing a building on Southwest Street behind the Cream Castle property on Malone in which they plan to construct three to five offices, 10 classrooms, a kitchen and a family/parent room as well as a fenced-in playground outside.

DAEOC officials anticipate needing CDBG funds as well as a USDA Rural Development Community Facility Loan/Grant to finance the project.

Joe E. Lane, director of community planning for the Bootheel Regional Planning and Economic Development Commission at Malden, said he and the BRPC will assist with the CDBG application process.

* A contribution of $10,000 to the SEMO Weed and Seed was approved by council members.

Doug Friend, city manager, said that is the amount contributed by each of the member cities.

Friend said he is much more informed about what Weed and Seed does after attending a presentation by the local director, Lisa Lane.

Opportunities exist for the city to receive $25,000 through Weed and Seed programs, according to Friend.

As Friend said he would be willing to represent the city on the Regional Weed and Seed Board, council appointed Friend to the city's seat on the board.

* The bid for a new animal control truck was awarded to Sikeston Motor Company by council members to replace the current vehicle. "It's got a lot of mechanical problems," said Tom Bridger, public works director. "It's due for replacement."

Sikeston Motors bid a four-wheel drive model for $22,186.

A lower bid by Morlan Dodge for a total of $21,392 was also submitted but did not offer four-wheel drive.

Bridger said four-wheel drive is necessary for many of the vehicle's duties.

* Council members awarded a bid for the purchase of exercise equipment for the Middle School Fitness Trail to the low bidder, Hutchinson and Associates, for $12,450.

The bid includes 20 stations of exercise equipment to be placed around the new quarter-mile fitness trail at the Middle School.

Friend said the city and the school district agreed to split the costs and an anonymous donor will also contribute money to the project.

Other bids were submitted by Bergfeld Recreation for $20,250 and by Fry and Associates for $16,165.

* The construction bid for the chat driveway and parking lot around the southwest corner of the lake at R.S. Matthews Park was awarded to Clark Excavating of Cape Girardeau.

Clark Excavating offered the lowest and best bid of $18,576 for a nine-inch chat roadway, 24 feet wide ending in a 60-space parking lot.

The engineer, Waters and Associates, has worked with the contractor before and found him to be a "responsible contractor," according to city staff.

Jiggs Moore, director of parks and recreation, said the engineer also said that the city should consider taking advantage of the excellent price and go ahead with construction of the walking track around the lake for an additional $9,525.

Council followed the recommendation and approved the bid and walking track for a total of $28,101.