Sikeston council considers ways to pitch funding proposals to voters
SIKESTON - City council members reviewed charts and financial reports from city department heads during a special council meeting Tuesday as they discussed ways to pitch the proposed payment in lieu of taxes to voters.
At the Feb. 4 election, Sikeston voters will be asked to amend the Home Rule Charter to establish the PILOT, which 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 - namely the Board of Municipal Utilities.
Council members discussed going on record with a statement promising not to approve a utility rate hike related to the PILOT if it is approved along with information on what the $1.6 million raised by the PILOT would be used for if approved.
Approximately $450,000-$500,000 will be needed just to maintain existing services, according to City Manager Doug Friend. Friend advised that regardless of what happens with the PILOT, he will need to make "critical decisions" this spring on cuts to the city's operating budget.
Other expenditures discussed included money for the Land Clearance for Redevelopment Authority and accelerating capitol improvement impact projects such as a new Department of Public Safety headquarters or fire station.
On Councilman Mike Marshall's suggestion, council members approved asking the Board of Municipal Utilities for an immediate transfer of $50,000 to the LCRA so it can begin operations.
Approximately 60 properties have been identified for demolition by the LCRA. Tom Bridger, public works director, said it costs around $4,000-$6,000 to tear down each house.
Council members also approved paying the $10,000 dues for membership in 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.