SIKESTON - City property tax rates will be slightly higher this year.
Following the required public hearing, the Sikeston City Council set taxes for fiscal year 2004 during a special meeting Monday, approving a total increase of .48 cents per $100 assessed value.
A slight increase in assessed values in the Scott County portion of the city was countered by the drop in New Madrid County, according to City Clerk Carroll Couch.
Asked by Councilman Phil Boyer why assessed valuation had dropped, Couch speculated it could be because of K-Mart closing, noting that increases in total assessed value from new construction "may be offset...as older property goes down (in value)," Couch said.
After an adjustment by New Madrid County for the Tax Increment Financing district totaling nearly $2 million, total assessed value in Sikeston is down from last year's $163,740,872 to $162,956,049. New construction and improvements was valued at $1,807,980.
Tax rates were set at 55.3 cents for the general revenue fund; 16.09 cents for the library; and 16.09 cents for the park fund for a total of 87.48 cents per $100 assessed value.
The increase of .3 cents in the general revenue rate will bring in an additional $8,000 to the general revenue fund, Couch said. The library and park funds were also raised .09 cents each.
Among other City Council business Monday morning:
* Jeff Ketterman of the Bootheel Golf Club asked about the proposed placement of an Automated Weather Observation System at the Sikeston Municipal Airport, questioning whether the engineering firm had all the pertinent information when they reached their conclusion such as which property was owned by the city and which properties would require easements.
Tom Bridger, public works director, said the engineering firm selected the site based on cost effectiveness and having no immediate impact, noting the cost of clearing trees from alternate sites was important to the site's selection.
The engineering study, required by the Federal Aviation Administration before they will approve an AWOS site, was made possible through participation in a state program, City Manager Doug Friend said. If the city rejects the site identified in the study and exits from the bidding process, the city will be out on their own without the state aid and the engineering study will have to be redone at an estimated cost of $8,000.
Ketterman said that while the Bootheel Golf Club agrees having an AWOS for the airport would benefit the city, placing it at the site identified by the engineering firm could impact aesthetics and playability for 8-10 acres of his golf course. He said the Hooters golf tournament also "benefits the entire community when they come."
"I think it will affect his property quite a bit," said Boyer, noting the Bootheel Golf Club would not be able to cultivate a treeline for a windbreak like the Country Club has.
* Council authorized issuing requests for proposals on a TIF project at the Village Green Shopping Center as requested by Bill Green, director of the department of economic development.
The project would reorient the shopping center to face South Main by tearing it down and rebuilding it in stages.
* The city's ethic ordinance was readopted by Council as required every other year.
* The city's Comprehensive Plan should be ready for adoption following some final corrections to the map which Bridger hopes to have finished by the end of this week.
The first draft was presented to the city in 2000.
* Council made nominations for city boards and commissions with appointments slated to be made during the meeting Sept. 8. This will provide time for them to be sworn in and ready to take office on the first Monday of October as required by the City Charter, according to Linda Lowes, director of governmental services.
Mayor Mike Marshall said Council members should consider attendance records before making reappointments as absenteeism on city boards and committees is frustrating.
"It's hard to operate a meeting when they don't show up," he said.
Council members were also asked to consider appointees for the temporary Public Education/Government Channel Advisory
* Councilman Michael Harris invited council and staff members to attend the Return to Sunset Day scheduled for Saturday.