Commissioners discuss strategic plan, more space for county offices

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

When Paul Koeper asked what plan existed for the future growth of Cape Girardeau County, his fellow commissioners said there was none.

Getting a bead on long-term planning was just one of a handful of items Koeper put on Monday's agenda for his initial meeting as Cape Girardeau's 1st District commissioner. The city of Jackson is revamping its strategic plan and the city of Cape Girardeau last year finalized a new 20-year plan.

"If we have a plan, I need to get my mind around it," Koeper said.

"We don't have a plan," Presiding Commissioner Gerald Jones said during the meeting. "We made a stab at it at one time, where the commissioners and a few of the other elected officials went to a retreat ... and came up with somewhat of a plan down the road."

Jones said that planning session resulted in a five-year-plan for the county park system and another for equipment replacement in the highway administration department.

He said the feasibility of whether the county should pursue expanding into space available at the old federal courthouse, on Broadway in Cape Girardeau, was fading.

The county will need more office space he said, "and that's not an 'if,' it's a 'when.'"

But negotiations for the county to assume control of the building have been complicated by the fact that the county would not own the building outright and would be required to follow federal plans for using the structure.

In other action, the commissioners unanimously approved purchase orders, reappointed county Collector Diane Diebold to the East Missouri Action Agency Board, made appointments to the Mental Health Mill Tax Board and approved copy machine service agreements.

They discussed commissioner duties for 2009. Jones gave a written recommendation that he assume oversight for emergency management, Missouri Association of Counties, the Missouri Judicial Finance Commission and the Workforce Investment Board; Koeper take on the county highway administration, buildings and grounds, the county extension council and the MoDOT District 10 Advisory commission; and 2nd District Commissioner Jay Purcell be assigned county parks, the juvenile department, and Magnet; and that the leaders of the county information technology department, the circuit court system, the sheriff's department and jail report to the entire commission.

pmcnichol@semissourian.com

388-3646

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