SIKESTON -- Airport improvements, a downtown revitalization program and a proposed ambulance sales tax were among the items addressed during the regular Sikeston City Council meeting Monday.
"I think from the standpoint of economic development, we need to do something about our airport," said Councilman Jerry Pullen. "In hot weather, you can't park a heavy aircraft on our blacktop -- it will sink in."
City Manager Doug Friend said the city's plans to redo the airport's apron have been in Jefferson City for 9-10 months awaiting approval.
The apron improvements need to be completed first before other plans for the airport, such as moving the terminal and building new hangars, can be initiated, he said.
Friend said Steve Lee, street superintendent, has been in close contact with state officials to track the approval process.
"Right now I think things are getting real close on that apron," Lee reported.
Lee said there is roughly $500,000 in federal entitlement funds available for the project which would overlay about half the apron and put concrete in on the other half.
A resolution was passed by council members authorizing the city to submit a Downtown Revitalization Economic Assistance for Missouri Initiative application for revitalization assistance for the downtown area.
Linda Lowes, director of governmental services, said the DREAM Initiative was created by the governor to revitalize downtown areas.
She said there is no money available through the program yet, but there is the promise of assistance, such as planning resources, and hopefully money in future budget years.
The program involves a partnership of three development agencies: the Missouri Department of Economic Development, the Missouri Development Finance Board and the Missouri Housing Development Commission.
It seeks to re-establish properties in use in the downtown core, increase property tax values and sales tax opportunities, re-establish a sense of place and cultural heritage in the heart of the community, and attract private investment and new jobs.
The application is due Aug. 1. Only 8-10 communities in the state will receive DREAM Initiative assistance, according to Lowes.
If approved, the city will receive technical revitalization assistance from the state over the next three years.
Craig Hahs, treasurer for the Southern Scott County Ambulance District, presented a briefing on a half-cent sales tax to be put before the voters on the November ballot.
Hahs said if approved, the sales tax would reduce property taxes within the district by half the amount collected from the sales tax.
As the tax is projected to bring in $1,067,000, the rollback would be for about $543,000, he said.
"I guess a sales tax is the fairest tax there is," Hahs said.
The ambulance district has done 5,800 runs from May 12 to the present day, 30 percent of which were for people who are not within the district, according to Hahs.
He said the tax would "make a fair and easy burden on our people."
Hahs said a sales tax in New Madrid County for the ambulance district is also slated for November.
There is no sunset provision for the proposed sales tax.
In other business Monday:
* Council members approved rezoning Kinder Street from R-6 residential planned manufactured housing to R-2 single-family residential.
Trey Hardy, community redevelopment coordinator, said his office was contacted with the rezoning request by Mike Jobe of Jobe Construction Co. who advised he is in the process of purchasing all of Kinder Street to build single-family homes.
The area will be renamed the Phoenix Subdivision and will be "a shot in the arm for that part of town," Hardy said.
Lots for the mobile homes are available on Harry, which is the next street over, as well as on Chris Drive off Smith Street and a mobile home drive located off South Kingshighway "if they choose to remain in Sikeston," he said.
Hardy said the first deadline for removing the mobile homes is Sept. 1.
Council also had the first reading for a replat of the lots from 46-foot wide lots to 60-foot wide lots for about 34 homes.
* Councilman Michael Harris was appointed to fill the position formerly held by Councilman Bill Stokes on the Tourism Commission.
The term ends in April 2007.
Stokes resigned due to his occupation.
The Tourism Commission's membership consists of two elected officials from both Sikeston and Miner along with a representative from the Sikeston Area Chamber of Commerce board. It meets quarterly and makes final decisions on the operation of the Sikeston-Miner Convention and Visitors Bureau.
* Kathy Anglin was appointed to serve on the Sikeston Area Higher Education Center Advisory Council which meets quarterly.
The appointment is to fill the position formerly held by Keith Kirk who resigned due to time restrictions created by his employment.
The term runs through Dec. 31, 2007.
* The abandonment of five-foot utility easements in the Fairfield 5th Addition and 6th Addition was approved.
As the utility easements are bordered by a 20-foot sewer easement which will remain, "it is a redundant easement," Hardy said.
* A bill which would transfer the ownership of 23 more of the city's vacant lots to the Land Clearance Redevelopment Authority was read for the first time.