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City and Charter Communications reach agreement

Tuesday, March 4, 2003

SIKESTON - After years of extensions on the old agreement, Charter Communications and the City of Sikeston have finally negotiated a cable television franchise contract.

The agreement is slated for approval at the city's regular April meeting following a period for public comment.

The public hearing for the proposed franchise agreement was held during Monday's regular City Council meeting with no questions or comments from citizens.

Charles Leible, city counselor, said the contract is for 10 years with an automatic five-year renewal clause. It provides for two public access channels and includes the maximum 5-percent franchise free.

"It is non-exclusive," said Leible, explaining it is really a "license to business in Sikeston" that does not limit other cable companies from setting up in Sikeston.

In other business addressed by the Sikeston City Council during their regular Monday meeting:

* Council members passed a resolution sponsoring Gloryland Community Development Corp. for a grant which will allow for the renovation of 229 Westgate, the former Lincoln School, into the Lincoln Gloryland Community Center. The sponsorship incurs no cost for the city and papers will be filed indicating the city will not supply any in-kind funding.

The grant will pay for repairs to the roof, exterior and interior paint and carpet among other renovations, according to Charlie Green Jr., Gloryland's president

"We want to open it up to the community," Green said, "get some of the youth off the streets...they don't have anywhere to go on the west side of town."

The Center will sponsor community services such as recreational programs, after-school programs, community health screenings and job skills training, according to Green.

He added that for those who attended school there, "it also has sentimental value."

Green said the building is currently owned by Michael Green, but "Gloryland is in the process of buying the building."

The deadline for the grant's application is March 15.

* A resolution authorizing the Bootheel Regional Planning Commission to prepare an all-hazard mitigation plan was passed.

Department of Public Safety Director Drew Juden explained federal legislation requires local governments to have a State Emergency Management Agency-approved natural hazard mitigation plan in place in order to be eligible for Federal Emergency Management Agency disaster relief funds. All plans must be approved by Nov. 1, 2004.

"We currently have a plan in place," Juden said. The plan will be forwarded to the BRPC for review, some updating and to bring the plan into compliance with SEMA at no cost to the city.

Boyer said council members would review all the additional information. "We appreciate all the comments," Boyer said.

* Council members adopted an ordinance authorizing the transfer of 39 city-owned real estate sites to the Land Clearance Redevelopment Authority.

Leible explained during the previous briefing session that the ordinance is written so the LCRA may take possession at their request as they still need to obtain liability insurance before taking possession.

* The last four bills in a series bringing city code into compliance with the Home Rule Charter were adopted.

Linda Lowes, director of governmental services, said the first three bills include no substantial changes and deal with property assessment and establishment of property tax; personnel code; and business licenses and associated taxes.

The fourth sets the term for the municipal court judge at not less than two years in length to bring city code into compliance with the state statute.

In April, an ordinance will be required codifying the Charter in its entirety, Lowes said.

* A bill amending city code to include the Hayward Annexation in the Ward 2 boundary description was approved.

* Council members accepted demolition bids totaling $22,410 approved by the LCRA during its Friday meeting.