From all of us at the City, I'd like to extend to you our wishes for a happy and safe holiday season. 2002 has been an extremely busy year for the city. I'd like to share just a few of our accomplishments with you.
First on our list is the passage, by Sikeston's voters, of a City Charter, establishing ward representation and the independent election of the mayor. A number of tasks have been completed in preparation for its implementation in April 2003. Ward boundaries have been established and a primary election will be held Feb. 4, 2003. Council is systematically adopting ordinances bringing our City Code into compliance with the Charter.
Voters also approved the creation of the Land Clearance Redevelopment Authority. Its five-member board has been named and public input is presently being sought on the designation of the LCRA to acquire and eliminate derelict and dilapidated buildings that frequently provide havens for drug dealers and other criminals. Our goal is to replace these derelict properties with quality, affordable housing for our citizens.
While on the topic of crime, I'd like to thank the men and women of the Sikeston Department of Public Safety for their efforts during 2002. In addition to their routine patrol and traffic duties, DPS has expanded the DARE Program, continued its presence and support of Weed and Seed, the Neighborhood Watch Program and Community Based Policing. School Resource Officers are being placed in our local school system. DPS provides security for the rodeo, Cotton Carnival, high school graduation, high school sporting events, the hospital ball and the Cerebral Palsy Telethon.
2002 saw the opening of the new fire station on North West Street with full staffing at all Sikeston fire houses. Fire prevention programs continue and Fire Division staff assist in the installation of smoke detectors throughout our community.
In addition to all of the above, DPS will answer an estimated 27,000 calls for service.
This year the City opened the Clinton Community Building, completed a new $170,000 concession stand/restroom facility in the Little League Baseball South Quad and started replacing the existing concession stand/restroom facility in the North Quad. A walking trail, parking lot and boat ramp were installed at R.S. Matthews Park/C.P. Wing Lake. Maintenance of these facilities have been added to the duties of the Public Works Department. A walking/fitness trail was constructed at the Sikeston Middle School.
The DPW staff has done an outstanding job of minimizing private property damage during the flooding this spring They were called upon again during the recent ice and snow storm to keep our streets and roadways open. In addition to these seasonal duties, DPW staff routinely cleans, patches and repairs our streets, repairs and maintains our storm water sewer system, trims trees, mows and maintains the city's rights-of way, ditches and parks, operates the compost site and leaf collection program and does their best to control our mosquito population.
During 2002, Code Enforcement issued 170 permits for residential and commercial construction that is valued at $13,418,183. Nine hundred five inspections were made for gas, electric and structural compliance. Five hundred fifty rental housing exterior inspections were conducted in addition to 23 interior inspections. Two hundred two complaints were taken to Municipal Court for violations of our tall weeds and grass, junk vehicles, exterior maintenance and tenancy compliance violations.
Our animal control officer answered 642 complaints thus far this year, picking up more than 381 animals from our streets.
The Transportation Sales Tax funded $704,000 in reconstructions and overlays this year. This included the much-needed locations on North and South Ingram. New sidewalks have been constructed in the vicinity of our schools to provide safe walkways for our children.
To make government more accessible to our citizens, the City established a Website at www.sikeston.org This site provides Council and Boards and Commissions meeting dates, agendas, with approved minutes. Leaf collection, compost and other service scheduling information can also be found on this site.
In closing, Council's goal is to not only maintain our current quality of life in Sikeston, but to actively seek and implement programs that will improve life for all citizens of Sikeston.
Happy holidays from the Sikeston City Council and City employees.