SIKESTON - Measures to move a redevelopment deal at the old Missouri Department of Transportation complex near the intersection of Main and Malone forward were approved by the City Council during a special session Monday.
Council members first approved a bill terminating the redevelopment agreement with NOVUS Companies for the site.
The city was formally notified March 19 that NOVUS sold the property to Sikeston Acquisitions Inc. of the Coleman Development Group.
City Manager Doug Friend said the city will now enter into a new redevelopment agreement with the Coleman company.
As part of the agreement, the city will offer tax increment funding incentives. With a TIF agreement, the city waives taxes generated by the redevelopment for a set period of time to reimburse the developer for infrastructure improvements.
A professional services contract to provide legal services for the TIF project and subsequent bond issuance was awarded to Gilmore & Bell of St. Louis.
Peckham, Guyton, Albers and Viets, a St. Louis consulting firm specializing in planning and urban renewal projects, was awarded a professional services contract to provide consultation services including a new study of the site, new redevelopment plan and new analysis of statistics to reform the TIF district.
Coleman properties will pay for the costs. "It will just be a pass-through for the city," Friend said.
In other business conducted Monday:
* An amendment to City Code prohibiting firearms on city properties was approved.
In addition to prohibiting guns from municipal buildings, Friend said the Missouri Municipal League has advised the amendment is applicable to structures at parks such as pavilions and concession stands.
"Our thoughts are to expand that," Friend said, taking the city one step further into "uncharted waters" and post the prohibition to include all of the city's park areas.
Council member Sue Rogers said it should reduce the city's liability.
Certified law enforcement officers are still permitted to carry their firearms in the prohibited areas.
* Council members tabled awarding the bids for Park Division mowing services due to question of vendor reliability.
Jiggs Moore, parks director, said there are 20 properties bid out on two-year contracts for mowing. "They are more than the park division can handle," he said.
This time 14 vendors put bids in.
If awarded as recommended, this year's mowing will cost $11,592 less than in 2002.
One of the lowest bids was rejected, however. Moore explained the out-of-town vendor recently bumped heads with city officials after leaving yard waste in the city's street and not responding to calls to clean it up in a timely manner.
"The lowest bid is not always the best bid," said Moore, as lowest bidders on occasion perform "substandard work."
Jim Hux advised Council members the problem happened at his property and defended the vendor. "He runs a reliable and dependable business," Hux said.
A motion to award the bids as recommended died for lack of a second.
The bid review committee will reconvene joined by Council members David Teachout, Michael Harris and Jerry Pullen.
* Council approved a 10-year extension on the Sikeston Country Club's lease of city land.
The city's 71.27 acres have been leased by the Country Club for the "back nine" of its golf course since 1981.
Appraisers agreed on a value of $50 per acre which increases the cost for the Country Club from $2,800 per year to $3,560.
"I think it's low," Rogers said.
Hux pointed out the land has a lower value because of Federal Aviation Administration development and height restrictions. City officials added the land is too sandy for viable agriculture without irrigation.
* The Sikeston Area Chamber of Commerce will be able to hold Springfest May 27-31 on the airport grounds behind the Chamber's offices this year, but Council members are looking for long-term solution.
Airport officials have expressed security concerns related to the event, according to officials. "I think it needs to be moved - I really do," said Jim Terrell, Ward 2 councilman.
"The location is ideal," said Missy Marshall, executive director of the Sikeston Area Chamber of Commerce. She offered to hire additional security "if that's what it takes."
Marshall explained the rodeo grounds won't work because of lighting poles put in formerly open parking areas and that the Jaycees are preparing for the annual rodeo.
Director of Public Safety Drew Juden suggested establishing an area for all fairs, carnivals and circuses. "It should be one location," he said.
Friend said staff will look into finding a long-term solution.
* Council approved a letter of intent to enter into an agreement for Digital Information Network software and services which would enable the city to provide weather, hazardous materials and Amber alerts, boil water orders, street and school closings and other information on its Website.
Linda Lowes, director of governmental services, said the cost will be around $18,000 to $19,000 payable in the next fiscal year plus $2,000 per year for updates. She said Board of Municipal Utilities officials have agreed to split the cost of the system with the city.