SIKESTON - Sikeston's city council is gearing up for the transition to the home rule form of government.
"Sikeston's form of government will change in April 2003," Mayor Phil Boyer said. "Council and city staff have identified the steps required for full implementation of the Home Rule Charter and this transition process has started."
A Transition Committee consisting of the Council, city manager and city department heads was formed by the Council to oversee the process.
"We surveyed a number of communities that have made this transition within the past five years," said Boyer. "As in the communities contacted, the Council will make all legislative decisions and monitor the process while administrative staff will implement the nuts and bolts of the transition."
First on the city's list of objectives is the designation of four wards. "The city has until October 2002 to finalize and approve ward boundaries," said Boyer. "The City Council and I recognize public input is vital to the understanding and acceptance of this process. We fully intend to invite public review and comment as this process progresses."
Using census data, city staff has made preliminary drawings using 4,248 residents as the target population for each ward.
"It's our goal to keep existing voting precincts intact," said City Manager Doug Friend. "We will be overlaying our preliminary drawings with precinct boundaries to see what adjustments for population, if any, will be needed."
Approval of the wards will pave the way for the April 2003 elections as filing for ward positions starts in October 2002.
Voters will elect three positions in the April 2003 election - an at-large mayor and two ward representatives. Jerry Pullen and Michael Harris, though elected at-large, will serve as their ward representatives at this time, according to city officials.
"A plan for the timely implementation of the Charter has been established by the Transition Committee," said Boyer. "The City Council and I will make every effort to keep our voters informed on its progress and welcome any questions the public may have."
During the coming year, the Council will adopt ordinances establishing the city's administrative organization and personnel system. A full review of the city's municipal code will be conducted over the next three years to bring it into compliance with the city's charter.