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Cape County Commission specifies concerns about Fruitland incorporation

Friday, March 2, 2012

The Cape Girardeau County Commission has released a letter to residents seeking to incorporate part of Fruitland that outlined three "points of contention" with their plan to become a village.

The county asked that petitioners revise the proposed village's financial plan, specify a timeline for establishing specific services for residents and redraw village boundaries.

"Our ultimate goal in this process is to see that should the residents of Fruitland deem incorporation is the best avenue, that it is done so in a manner according to the laws of Missouri. We also want to ensure that the residents of Fruitland receive the services they are due and the Village of Fruitland is positioned for success," the commission said in the two-page document dated Feb. 23, signed by Presiding Commissioner Clint Tracy and Commissioner Paul Koeper.

Commissioner Jay Purcell said Monday he was working with Tracy to compromise on specific language in the letter, but his signature did not appear on the final version. Purcell said that he is opposed to the level of involvement by the county, which he said is "trying to overburden the process."

Purcell said Thursday he had no comment about the letter's content and that he hopes commissioners can reach compromises moving forward.

The petition projected about $10,000 in reserve funding for the village, which the county said was inadequate to address unforeseen expenses. Tim Sutterer, who presented the original petition to the county in August on behalf of the 238 taxable inhabitants who signed it, said proponents for incorporation would use budgets of comparable villages as a model for a revised financial plan to submit to the county.

Sutterer said only two services in Fruitland are supplied by the county -- sheriff protection and road maintenance. He said one option used by other small communities is to contract with the county for those services after incorporation.

Many local services would remain unchanged after incorporation. Water is provided by Public Water Supply District No. 1, volunteers at Fruitland Area Fire District respond to fire emergencies, Citizens Electric Corp. of St. Genevieve, Mo., provides electricity and landowners contract individually for trash pickup. There are not unified sewer services in the area. Some individual residents have septic systems while larger developments have localized systems.

Sutterer said all petitioners have been invited to two meetings about the terms of incorporation, including what services will be offered. He said he thinks residents generally understand and agree with the terms of the petition and existing services and that the village plans to respond with expanded services as desired and needed.

The village border, as currently drawn, would be bound by U.S. 61, Interstate 55, Highway 177 and routes Y, W and FF, which includes two quarries. Sutterer said that during the formation of the petition, residents initially drew a rough rectangle centering on the growing areas of Fruitland. Legal counsel to the group advised using existing natural boundaries instead of picking and choosing landowners, leading to extending the edges of that shape to the surrounding highways.

The county asked in its letter that the historical footprint of Fruitland to the north be included in the village. It questions the inclusion of agricultural land that potentially violates Missouri Supreme Court rulings against incorporating such tracts.

The county has also received written opposition by landowners included in the incorporation boundaries. Legal counsel for Heartland Materials LLC and Strack Excavating LLC, which operate the two quarries in the area, sent letters dated Feb. 27 and Feb 28, respectively, stating they will take legal action to prevent being included in the village.

Sutterer said the group would not feel comfortable redrawing the boundaries without input from the residents to the north who would be affected. He said village organizers would formally respond in detail to the county's letter "in a couple weeks."

"We are trying to do our best to do everything that is required by law, and then some," Sutterer said.

Missouri law specifies the minimum process an area must follow to become a village but allows for the county to determine what is "reasonable" in excess of the minimum before approving incorporation, according to an incorporation handbook published by the University of Missouri-Columbia.

In comparison to the demands on other similar communities, Sutterer said, "we feel we may be being held to a higher standard."

The county's legal counsel declined to comment Thursday, pending permission to make a public statement.

salderman@semissourian.com

388-3648

Pertinent address:

1 Barton Sq., Jackson, MO


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why did the quarries want to be in jackson so badly but do not want to be part of fruitland?

-- Posted by TommyStix on Thu, Mar 1, 2012, at 6:47 PM

TommyStix; It's because Jackson was allowing the quarries to write their own annexation in return for the tax base. (Nut shell explanation)

-- Posted by popper on Thu, Mar 1, 2012, at 11:42 PM

There remains no decent solution when a loud, dirty, unsightly quarry is allowed in the very epicenter of residential and light commercial growth among Cape, Jackson and Fruitland. That the state would ever allow a quarry in such a place is utter idiocy. The immediate region has hundreds of isolated square square miles of limestone. Was this actually about money trumping the majority, both in the case of the DNR decision as well as the Jackson government's greedy eye on tax revenue? It would never have happened if the county's most prominent leaders had risen up and supported the humble efforts of the large majority of neighbors and school families against the quarry. This issue has lacked principled, reasoned leadership from the beginning.

-- Posted by HizDNA on Fri, Mar 2, 2012, at 12:09 AM

HizDNA, if you have a problem with have quarries in your beloved epicenter, wait until the horse processing facility arrives.

-- Posted by hoopsguru on Fri, Mar 2, 2012, at 7:25 AM

Unelected Fruitland Mayor Sutterer once again rides in on his white horse to correct the county commission and opponents offering to the hundreds desiring to join his holy quest for incorporation. We will have a great Village, under his leadership, offering no water system, no electric system, no road maintenance or development, and most of all, no sewer system. Ah, yes, he now wants tax revenues from the hated quarries and other businesses to run the Village. Democracy at its selfless best! And he accused Jackson leaders of greed and selfishness.

-- Posted by Old Preacher Man on Fri, Mar 2, 2012, at 8:51 AM

Not sure how or why the quarries thought this was going to work out the way they wanted.

Tell me again how the Village of Fruitland would be any less viable than the Village of Dutchtown? Eventually they will grow, and clearly they are looking at providing something that the local residents want.

Taxing revenue generating businesses to provide services to the public is how things have worked for quite some time.

-- Posted by hondaprimacy on Fri, Mar 2, 2012, at 10:56 AM

I have no problem with the quarry being here and I support it. People complain about not having jobs and when a company does bring jobs to our areas we complain and not want them here. Just be glad they picked our town to bring the jobs to..

-- Posted by justin_carruthers on Fri, Mar 2, 2012, at 5:58 PM


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