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Thursday, Aug. 25, 2016

Speakouts: PILOT

Sunday, February 2, 2003

The PILOT (Payment In Lieu Of Taxes) reeks and probably should be renamed APOIT (A Pile Of IT). Is it necessary to use fancy acronyms to state that the city of Sikeston is going to levy a sales tax on electricity generated by our power plant? Are the local politicians trying to do a snow job on the residents of Sikeston? If we are selling power to other cities, why don't we raise their rates and not impose the sales tax on the residents of Sikeston? I think this is a bad proposal and remind the politicians at City Hall that tax increases for the highway department and the cigarette tax were defeated by wide margins in recent elections. Unless there are some better explanations, I plan to vote against the PILOT.

I am a Sikeston resident who is concerned about this PILOT. For medical reasons, I use our local hospital a lot. It is an invaluable resource for Sikeston. I worry what this PILOT will do to our hospital. Aren't they a large electricity user? Where does the hospital stand on this issue?

I am a senior citizen in Sikeston who is living on a fixed income. I can't afford any increase in my electric bill. Times are hard enough now without a PILOT, much less with the PILOT. I don't have any alternatives because this is a tax on a service I have to have. A sales tax I can choose to avoid. Why can't we vote on a sales tax increase instead?

"Where's the beef?" This old Wendy's commercial comes to mind as I try to figure out where the City Council is going to spend this PILOT windfall. I expected to see a detailed listing, with cost estimates for at least the next five years. We have not gotten that. The citizens can judge for themselves whether they should vote for a PILOT (tax) if they have the facts in front of them. This windfall tax is going to be there forever. What is a Council to do? Oh, my!

City Council is demanding $1.6 million from BMU Light and Water with Payment In Lieu of Taxes (PILOT) program, which will be on the ballot on Tuesday. If voters pass this program, then Light and Water has a problem - where to get $1.6 million. BMU can't pass this cost on to residents here because any rate increase must be approved by City Council. BMU can't pass the cost on to long term retail customers like Columbia, Carthage and West Plains because that will be a breech of contract and questionable from a legality standpoint. City Council is aware of the legal issue but chooses to "cross that bridge when we get there. We want 3 percent (of gross retail sales) and we don't care how we get it." I think we should vote no and table this issue until legal research can be completed and residents can have the chance to vote on a clear issue, not one clouded by misinformation, greed and politics.

If this PILOT is not legal and Sikeston can tax other entities that buy our power, as the Council and economic developer state, then why get only 3 percent? Why not 10 percent? Why not 20 Percent. Heck, let's do 100 percent! And let's do it only on our contracting cities!

Top 10 reasons to vote no. As a taxpayer of Sikeston, I'm excited that someone has the judgment to condemn the liberal clique or machine that controls our city. Better judgment is being passed to elected officials for good opinions. Vote no on PILOT. How dumb do you think we are that everybody who works for the city can drive a truck or car home because everybody is on 24-hour-a-day call.

I have a question for our City Council regarding the PILOT issue that is going to be on the ballot. I have yet to see in the newspaper what our City Council is planning to do with this money collected from this extra tax that they plan on collecting. I would appreciate it if you would put this in SpeakOut and contact the City to advise the voters.