SIKESTON -- The public can still use cell phones while driving in Sikeston but officials prefer they not.
Sikeston City Council members decided during their regular meeting Monday they will not adopt city legislation restricting the use of cell phones while operating a motor vehicle yet but agreed drivers need to be made aware of how dangerous it is to do so.
Sue Rogers, at-large Council member, said she is hesitant to make it against the law as there are "many people that depend on a cell phone for their business."
Rogers urged drivers to remember they are "responsible for lives" -- both theirs and other people's -- when behind the wheel, however.
Drew Juden, director of the Sikeston Department of Public Safety, confirmed using a cell phone while behind the wheel is dangerous as well as "anything that pulls the driver's attention away from the road" such as changing CDs, drinking beverages or smoking.
City officials also agreed to seek more public input before making a decision on developing a city ordinance by which vehicles used in association with a drug violation occurring within 1,000 feet of municipal parks and/or school properties would be impounded.
"We really haven't had any feedback to speak of," City Manager Doug Friend said. "I'm not sure the word has got out that we've been thinking about it."
The idea is create an additional deterrent for conducting illegal activities in Sikeston, Friend explained.
"We're not going to put up with disobeying the laws in Sikeston whether they are coming from out of state or out of town," Mayor Mike Marshall said. "These thugs better go somewhere else to peddle drugs."
In other business during Monday's meeting:
* Stop signs will be added for east and westbound traffic on Washington at Dixie Street.
The three-way intersection already has a stop sign for traffic on Dixie Street at Washington.
Councilman Michael Harris had previously requested making Washington Street one way from Alabama to Westgate due to occasional congestion and speeding near the city park there.
The ordinance as presented would also have added stop signs for east and westbound traffic on Washington at Luther Street but it was amended after Harris said the stop signs at Dixie should be sufficient to slow traffic down.
* Council members approved a replat which split a lot in Parkland Addition and added one half each to the adjacent lots immediately north and south of it.
The split lot was formerly the location of an "eyesore" that the adjacent property owners paid to have removed, according to Trey Hardy, community redevelopment coordinator.
* Council members approved three one-year contracts for audit services with the Bucher, Essner and Miles certified public accounting firm, the sole bidders on the job for the 2007, 2008 and 2009 fiscal years.
The cost will be $22,000 for FY-07; $22,500 for FY-08 and $23,000 for FY-09. Bucher, Essner and Miles performed the audits for 2004, 2005 and 2006 at $22,800, $20,400 and $21,000 respectively.
* A 90-day temporary extension of Atmos Energy's franchise agreement was approved as an emergency bill to enable the company to lawfully continue doing business until a contract renewal can be approved.
Chuck Leible, city counselor, explained the agreement can't be renewed within 30 days after a renewal request and a public hearing must be held first.
The current contract expires Friday.
* David Ziegenhorn, chairman of the Land Clearance Redevelopment Authority commission, advised council members the LCRA has taken possession of the dilapidated building on Compress Road and is working on arranging a cleanup of the property.
That property will be the primary topic at the LCRA's next meeting Monday, he said.
* Marshall asked businesses to do their part in removing weeds and otherwise keeping things clean and neat near their business rather than depending on the city.
"We've got limited resources," he said. "The private sector needs to do their part, too."