As my term as mayor comes to a close, I'd like to share with you some of the many accomplishments of this past year. Since April 2002, the city has completed a $702,572 street improvement program that included the reconstruction of Linual and a portion of South Ingram. Asphalt overlays amounting to more than $464,000 were made to streets throughout the city. Our program to install sidewalks adjacent to our schools continued with the completion of the Middle School/Salcedo Road project.
The city negotiated and will be considering the approval of a 10-year non-exclusive cable TV franchise agreement with Charter Communications that provides free cable TV access to all elementary and secondary schools, both public and parochial, within the city.
Thanks in part to a generous contribution from Ray and Dorothy Clinton, the city was able to construct and furnish a community building. The Clinton Building was opened in the spring of 2002 and has become a hub for professional, family and community events.
In the area of recreation, we are continuing to replace the concession stand/restroom buildings in the Recreational Complex. New light poles have been installed on selected ball fields. Improvements continue to be made in the R.S. Matthews Park, where a boat ramp was installed on C.P. Wing Lake.
The city partnered with Sikeston Public Schools to construct a walking/fitness trail at Sikeston Middle School.
Additionally, a partnership between the city and YMCA of Southeast Missouri enabled us to operate the Sikeston Municipal Pool this year.
During 2002, the city continued its efforts to help residents "clean-up" the town by assisting with two clean-up campaigns.
While the city incurred $48,000 in waste disposal costs, those programs remain free of charge to our residents.
The city's composting program continues, this too at no cost to our residents. This has been the second year for our leaf collection campaign, which has been expanded to include two machines, each operating with three-man crews.
Recognizing that flooding is a major concern for our residents as well as those individuals located north of our city limits, the city is working closely with Scott County to clean and dredge St. John's Ditch. If the application for federal assistance is approved, the city will commit $59,000 to clean out the portion of St. John's Ditch located in Sikeston.
In public safety, we have placed additional DARE/SChool Resource Officers in our local schools. Our goal is to open communication between law enforcement and our youth and to also make our schools a safer place for our children.
Sikeston Public Safety has established a full time Drug Unit that works with the SEMO Drug Task Force and other law enforcement agencies to take dealers and suppliers off our streets. Public Safety has also partnered with Scott and New Madrid counties to develop a Major Case Squad. Working in cooperation with the Scott/New Madrid County Juvenile Office, the Council adopted measures to strengthen and expand the juvenile curfew to include normal school hours.
The city, at the request of the House of Refuge and under existing state legislation, adopted additional Municipal Court fees that will help support this shelter for battered men, women and children.
In 2002, Sikeston's Code Enforcement Division fully implemented its Rental Housing Inspections Program. Residential rental properties and tenants are now registered with the city. Inspections are being made to ensure minimum housing standards are maintained at all times.
Sikeston's Animal Control Division, after extensive research, has submitted suggested revisions to the city's animal ordinance. This proposed legislation is currently under study by the Council.
In continued efforts to improve the quality of Sikeston's housing stock, the Land Clearance Redevelopment Authority (LCRA) Commission was appointed. This group of dedicated individuals has worked with Council to designate the LCRA District. Thirty-nine city-owned properties were recently transferred to the LCRA as it begins its task of removing derelict properties and undertaking efforts to promote their replacement with affordable housing.
As you may recall, Sikeston's voters approved the City Charter in April 2002. Council immediately began the process of designating wards, adopting the final ward designations on July 1. Throughout 2002 and into 2003, the Council has systematically amended the City Code of Ordinances to comply with the Charter. All of the policies and procedures set forth in the Charter have been adopted and will become effective with the first meeting of the new City Council in April 2003.
Over this past year, city staff, my fellow Council members and I have worked diligently to maintain and improve the quality of life for our citizens. We are, however, at a crossroads.
Due to the costs associated with providing the services our residents have come to expect, and the limited amount of funding currently available, some tough decisions must be made. The City Council and the voters of Sikeston must identify and devise new methods of funding in order to maintain services and programs.
It has been a pleasure to serve as your mayor. I look forward to continuing my representation of Sikeston's residents as an at-large Council member.
We have a proud heritage and a promising future. I'm Sikeston Proud!
Phil Boyer, Sikeston mayor