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Editorial: Parks and sewers

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Efforts to place a sales-tax increase on the ballot in Cape Girardeau, possibly as early as next spring, gained ground recently when the city council responded more positively to scaled-back plans for park improvements and storm-water projects.

The original wish list for parks has been cut to $20 million from $31 million, and plans for storm-water improvements have been cut to $3 million from $5 million. Another $2 million would pay for replacing park vehicles. In addition, a half-cent sales tax increase would be limited to 10 years.

The parks and recreation advisory board has been working on an improvement plan for years, identifying major needs that cannot be met through the park department's annual operating budget.

The elephant in the room at any discussion of park improvements is a water park, which has been brought up several times in recent years. Some supporters of a tax increase for parks say including a water park in the plan will attract more support voters. But others say the water park is too expensive for a facility that can only be used during summer months. Both of the city's existing pools, Central Pool with its winter bubble and Capaha Pool with its aging equipment, have serious operating issues, which is also an important factor.

Harder to sell are the storm-water improvements -- unless, of course, you are one of the hundreds of city residents affected by storm-water problems during heavy rains.

Council members appeared more receptive to the scaled-back plans but, at the urging of Mayor Jay Knudtson, held off on any action until after a city budget summit this month. Meanwhile, supporters of the proposed tax increase need to continue to educate voters about the plans.


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No new TAXES!

-- Posted by DARTHJASON on Tue, Sep 25, 2007, at 9:33 AM

Although this would be a tax increase, and I hate taxes, this is one way the City can actually make money. If you have never been to a waterpark in either Farmington or PB, you would be surprised of the income. I have 2 nieces that worked at the park in Farmington and they told me it was common for them to have to halt entry after only 3 hours due to being at capacity. This would also bring a lot of business to the Cape retailers.

-- Posted by Dr._Will_B._Inebreated on Tue, Sep 25, 2007, at 12:21 PM

zoieian97,

Since when is it the buisness of any government enitity; be it local, state, or federal, to "make money"?

-- Posted by Lumpy on Tue, Sep 25, 2007, at 1:07 PM

Here's an idea: Ask Farmington what their water park cost to build, how much income it brings in, and what it costs to operate it. Is it bringing in a profit (which should only be determined after construction costs are satisfied)?

Well, lumpy, if our governmenat agencies could be making money on something, instead of continually finding new ways to spend "our" money, maybe there would be less need for tax increases.

As out-of-city shoppers, many of us have purchased more goods in our local communities since the recent tax increases in Cape and the high cost of gasoline. With one more increase, Cape may find themselves losing even more of our business, which could even eventually drive some businesses out of Cape.

-- Posted by gurusmom on Tue, Sep 25, 2007, at 1:49 PM

I understand the Farmington Park has a capacity of 800 people. I have been there before and had to stand in line to get in. So 800 people times $5.00 a person? Pretty good revenue. We spent money while in Farmington also.

-- Posted by insider63785 on Tue, Sep 25, 2007, at 10:06 PM

Lumpy, since when? Since, oh, about 1913. Go google comprehesive financial reports. Governments, yes even and especially down to state and local levels, operate as for profit entities. They loudly publish budgets which are plans of how to spend some money, not the ledger showing the incoming and outgoing. That is what the comprehensive financial report is. The same time governments are crying that they need to raise taxes to pay for something new, they don't show you how much liquidity they already have.

-- Posted by jumpinjehova on Wed, Sep 26, 2007, at 8:22 AM

If a local water park would be a profitable business, someone would be doing it.

-- Posted by John Baker on Wed, Sep 26, 2007, at 8:33 AM

Lumpy, why would you not want to make money as a city government. Especially when they would be able to turn around and put it back towards functioning costs. I'm sorry but DUH??. If the softball complex, swimming pools, or even water parks were able to make money, and maybe even be able to cover it's cost why would that not be an option.

Hot Spur, Were not talking about a concrete slide that was on a hill in Jackson. If you don't think it would bring in a profit, not to mention more money to the Cape merchants, I think you might need more information. However, no matter how much information there is for public consumption, I know that there are people that will never vote for it. To be honest, that is their perogative and I respect that.

-- Posted by Dr._Will_B._Inebreated on Wed, Sep 26, 2007, at 9:40 AM

A water park should be a private entity!Not

city owned or operated!If there is that much money to be made in a water park and some of you want it here then I suggest you buy some property and bulid it.Otherwise please let the subject wither on the vine.NO NEW TAXES!!

-- Posted by GREYWOLF on Wed, Sep 26, 2007, at 3:50 PM


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