Ballot issues could confuse voters, warn officials

Thursday, February 13, 2003

Voters may find it hard to understand Cape Girardeau city's four proposed tax-and-fee issues on the April 8 ballot, planning and zoning board members said Wednesday.

"I think a lot of people are going to be confused," board member Raymond Buhs said after city manager Michael Miller presented a PowerPoint presentation explaining the ballot issues. Board members discussed the measures but didn't take any action.

"It is complex," said Harry Rediger, board chairman. He said city officials need to educate voters on the measures.

The city council wants voters to approve a quarter-cent sales tax for fire department operations, a local use tax on goods and materials purchased out of state and a stormwater utility fee and extend a 10-cent property tax.

The taxes and the stormwater fee would be permanent and generate an estimated $4.13 million a year, Miller said.

City needs

The money would be used for operating expenses, replacement of aging equipment in various departments, stormwater projects, a new fire station, expansion and renovation of the police station and construction of a water park.

But Miller said a water park would be the last priority and depends on voters approving all four measures. "If there is not enough money to do all of them then the water park just won't go in," he said.

Board member John Clippard questioned the city's ranking of a new fire station as a higher priority than expanding the police station.

"It seems those priorities are out of whack," he said.

But Miller said the existing fire station on Emerald Street was built in 1951, is too small and needs to be replaced.

In regular business, the board:

Approved the revised, record plat of Cape West Tenth Subdivision at the northeast corner of Siemers Drive and Richmond Drive.

Approved the revised, record plat of Glenn Kinder Subdivision at the northwest corner of West Cape Rock Drive and Lexington Avenue, subject to meeting city requirements.

Approved the preliminary plat for Savannah Hills Estates in the 2100 and 2200 blocks of Perryville Road. The residential subdivision would have 83 lots. Homes would be in the $150,000 price range.

Tabled action on the record plat of Randol Farms Ninth Subdivision, a tract of residential land in the 2500 block of Abbey Road and the 2500 block of Palomino Drive.

Approved plans for the Fountain Street exit off the new Mississippi River bridge route.

mbliss@semissourian.com

335-6611, extension 123

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