SIKESTON - The Sikeston Public Works Complex on Northwest Street will soon have room to grow.
During its regular meeting Monday, City Council conducted the first reading of a bill which, if approved, will authorize an arrangement to receive the property immediately north of the complex in lieu of $70,000 owed to the city by the lot's owner, Riggs Inc. The lot presently has a building used for many years by McCord and Associates next to the old animal shelter.
City Manager Doug Friend explained that Riggs agreed a number of years ago to reimburse the city for the cost of extending School Street. While payments have been made on a regular basis, approximately $93,000 remained of the debt.
"The street's been paid for," Friend confirmed. "This seems like a good opportunity to get the property."
The bill is slated for a second reading and approval at Council's briefing session Dec. 29.
In other business addressed by Council during Monday's meeting:
* The bid to provide debit and credit counseling service for a home ownership program was awarded to Financial Fitness Services Inc. of Sikeston.
Tom Bridger, public works director, explained the city sent out 30 proposals for debit and credit counseling services on behalf of the Business Research Institute of Sikeston to fulfill requirements of a pending Community Development Block Grant application by BRI.
Two proposals were received by the city with Financial Fitness Services not only offering the low bid of $55 per participant but also providing correct documentation, Bridger said.
A bid was also received from Catholic Charities' Springfield office. In addition to a higher cost per participant, the bid included monthly travel costs for meals, travel time and car rental.
Matt Marshall of BRI said he approved of the Council's choice as BRI "has been given quite professional services" from Financial Fitness Services in the past.
The grant will offset counseling services which are provided by BRI, according to Marshall. "It is an ongoing program," he said. "This will give us the ability to continue the counseling services we already provide.
Marshall said the grant requires 35 percent of the cost of counseling to be paid by BRI.
"The city will be out no money," Friend said.
The project involves working with up to 80 participants in an effort to identify a minimum of 19 families for debit and credit counseling to qualify for home loans.
Participants will work toward buying 14 homes in the Pin Oak Subdivision and five new homes in Sikeston under the supervision of BRI
Potential homeowners will receive an average of 12 hours of counseling with an emphasis on improving credit, money management skills and information about the home mortgage process.
Homebuyer Education classes will be provided in conjunction with individual prepurchase housing counseling classes once potential homebuyers are identified.
* A technical correction to the city's FY-04 Compensation Plan and Staffing Level Authorization Ordinance was approved.
"It's more of a housecleaning ordinance," City Treasurer Karen Bailey said.
She explained the ordinance resolves a discrepancy discovered between the compensation and staffing ordinance and the city's personnel manual regarding the maximum number of vacation hours an employee can have.
The ordinance also deletes the 8.5-hour shift category from vacation and sick leave accrual charts as the city no longer has employees with that type of shift.
* Council approved a resolution declaring three DPS vehicles as surplus property to be offered for sale to the public.
"This is part of our annual patrol car replacement cycle," said Drew Juden, director of the Department of Public Safety.
* Council approved a block grant application for infrastructure improvements to the old Fleming building for an industrial development project.
A developer has agreed to purchase the property, according to Bill Green, director of the department of economic development. "Right now it appears likely it's going to happen," he said.
Green said the majority of the $500,000 from the grant would be used to "fund construction of a railroad spur into the north side of the building off the Power Plant spur."