A good deal

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

The days of bickering over road and bridge tax money have ended for Jackson and Cape Girardeau County. Officials say they reached a settlement earlier this month on who gets to claim the tax money.

The two governmental bodies have been at odds since 2002 and squared off in court for the first time in history.

At the heart of the matter is an interpretation of a state statute that requires counties to pass on 25 percent of the road and bridge taxes they collect from city residents to cities within each county to pay for road and bridge work. During the dispute, Jackson maintained it was owed money while the county said the city was misreading the statute.

Now that the matter has been settled, Jackson will be paid nearly $350,000 from the county over a five-year period. The settlement also means that county residents will see $90,000 less for road improvement projects outside of Jackson -- an amount that would pave five miles of blacktop.

Under the agreement, the county will pay revenue collected from 1999 to 2003. The county will not pay interest or penalties on the reimbursement, which amounts to $345,667.

It has taken years to get Jackson alderman and the county commissioners to agree on the road and bridge tax issue. It makes sense for the two groups to work together for the best interests of their respective residents. This settlement is a step in the right direction.

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