Sikeston improvement district proposal dies from lack of action

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

SIKESTON, Mo. -- A bill establishing a Downtown Sikeston Community Improvement District failed to get past a first reading.

The motion for a first reading on the bill died for lack of a second during a special city council meeting Monday.

If the bill had passed, the district would have had the authority to put a 1-cent sales tax proposal before qualified voters within the district.

The council tabled making a decision on the CID for 30 days at its Oct. 24 meeting and suggested property owners and merchants use that time to find something they could agree on.

An Historic Downtown Sikeston meeting was held Nov. 15 but without a consensus being found or a compromise being reached.

"Are you now saying that's impossible?" councilman Bob Depro asked.

"I don't think everybody's going to come into agreement," said Bart Grant, a downtown merchant in favor of the CID.

David Friedman, who owns property in the downtown district area, said he, downtown business owner David Ziegenhorn and Steve McPheeters had worked together to draft plans for a downtown capital campaign but were not allowed to present their proposal during the Nov. 15 meeting.

"It's not what they wanted," Friedman said. "Our proposal would raise about $50,000 a year."

He recalled the CID has been projected to raise $45,000 per year but that Historic Downtown Sikeston is now talking about revenue of $70,000 annually.

Grant said the sales tax was expected to bring in about $40,000 but they hoped to get additional funding through private donations and membership dues.

"This is just a base that we need to operate from," Grant said.

Historic Downtown Sikeston has "the ball rolling," he said. "We just don't want it to stop" but grant funding has "dried up."

Charlette Vanover, Historic Downtown Sikeston president, said she has several questions about how the capital campaign would work such has when the donations would be given -- all at once or in installments -- and what happens if a business that has committed funding goes bankrupt.

"If a sales tax is passed, that's guaranteed," Vanover said.

Chuck Grant said the additional money he would pay if there was a 1-cent sales tax wouldn't stop him from buying a garage door from Ziegenhorn's downtown business.

"I personally am for the sales tax and will continue to buy locally," he said.

Councilman Mike Conway said he attended the meeting Nov. 15. "I wish there had been more discussion there," he said.

After several citizens attempted to continue the discussion, Kathy Teachout, mayor pro tem, advised that "unless it is revisited later, the point is moot" and called for a five-minute recess before addressing remaining items on the agenda.

Pertinent address:

Sikeston, MO

Map of pertinent addresses

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