SIKESTON - The Sikeston City Council approved a bill 4-1 setting a special election Feb. 4 when voters will be asked to amend the Home Rule Charter to establish a monthly payment in lieu of taxes.
The PILOT, if approved by voters, would be equal to 3 percent of the gross operating revenues on any electric light, power plant or distribution system owned or operated by the city. PILOT is expected to generate $1.6 million annually.
Before being approved during Monday's regular city council meeting, the bill was amended by deleting a sentence referring to free services provided to the city by the Board of Municipal Utilities on the recommendation of Charles Leible, city counselor.
"It's unnecessary and might be confusing," Leible said. He added the former language might also be unlawful under the Missouri statute which requires a ballot issue to only address one subject.
Councilman Mike Marshall entered the only vote against the proposal.
In other city business:
* Council members authorized the city manager to negotiate a contract for services from Southeast Communities United for Regional Advancement, a non-profit organization formed to provide lobbyist representation for Southeast Missouri communities from Bryan Cave, a St. Louis-based law firm with offices throughout the nation and in several foreign countries.
* The Domestic Violence Shelter Surcharge ordinance was amended to increase the frequency of disbursements to a monthly schedule instead of twice per year.
The domestic violence shelter surcharge was established by the council in September.
Staff determined both shelters and the city would benefit from a monthly disbursement and reported other area communities with a domestic violence surcharge also used a monthly schedule.
Payments for the annual contracts will be made on or about the 10th of each month beginning in February.
Council members also awarded domestic violence funding to and authorized an agreement with The House of Refuge, the only domestic shelter provider to respond to the city's request for proposals.
The shelter reported assisting 316 person of four ethnic groups ranging in age from 17 to 70 between July 2001 and July 2002, according to Linda Lowes, director of governmental services.
The House of Refuge will be required to provide a report on services provided and a copy of their financial audit for the year during which city funding was received by March 2004.
* A scaled-back subdivision approval request from George Simmons for the Cotton Estates Subdivision, first addition, was approved. The new subdivision reduces the number lots from 47 to 26.
* A request to vacate a portion of a drainage easement on Lakeside Drive was denied as recommended by both the planning and zoning commission and city staff which both advised it would set a precedent.
Fill dirt placed in the 38 feet of drainage easement by the landowner due to an apparent miscommunication with city staff will need to be removed.
City officials agreed to look into assisting the landowner with the dirt's removal. "It's a bad situation. We'll see what we can do to rectify it," said Mayor Phil Boyer.
* A request to vacate a portion of utility easement on Lillian was approved.
The easement was established to provide utility access for a back lot, but the property's owners, the South Scott County Ambulance District, will not require utility service there, according to Tom Bridger, public works director.
* A rezoning request from developer Josh Bill for a 12.45 acre tract of the South Grove Estates from unzoned to C-1 was approved.
* The city will sponsor Business Research Institute in their application for an Open Cycle Housing Community Development Block Grant.
BRI will be applying for the maximum amount, $200,000.
The funds are being sought to help with the implementation of the Pin Oak Homeownership Program, slated to be used for payment and debt repair counseling assistance for low to moderate-income households, according to Matt Marshall, president of BRI.
* The bid for a Community Development Block Grant rehabilitation project was awarded to Hartwick Construction, the second lowest bidder. The lowest bidder is no longer participating in the program, according to city staff.
As the project's cost is over the $15,000 allowed for rehabilitation activities, the home's owner, Walter Brookins, has agreed to pay the additional expense before construction begins.
* Council awarded the bid to provide administrative services for DAEOC Community Development Block Grant to the sole bidder, Bootheel Regional Planning Commission, for $19,000.
* Council members accepted an annexation petition from the Hayward family for a 500-foot strip of land near Highway 61 and the city's northern limits.