Joint council meetings setting cooperative tone

Monday, February 11, 2002

Just as the Cape Girardeau mayor, the city manager and three councilmen were about to leave their short meeting Friday to certify the recent mayoral primary election, city clerk Gayle Conrad reminded them that there was a special joint city council meeting at Jackson Monday night.

"Jackson? Where's that?" one of the men joked.

Conrad, who lives in Jackson, shot back, "Jackson: That's the town with the good football team."

The cities of Jackson and Cape Girardeau are rivals in more venues than just the football field. They compete for businesses and money.

But the annual joint council meetings have helped the towns reach harmony on several issues and helped build a healthy relationship, officials say.

"They have been productive," said Cape Girardeau Mayor Al Spradling III. "They've set a tone. It's not so much that we're getting everything constructively done, though we've done that. It's a cooperative tone we've set as opposed to the antagonistic tone that was once there."

The idea of having joint council meetings came in the mid-1990s soon after Spradling became mayor.

This year will be the fourth meeting between the two councils.

"At least now you know who you're dealing with," Jackson Mayor Paul Sander said. "Once you meet them, you feel comfortable dealing with them. We will always have issues that don't concern the other. But it makes awful good sense to get together and talk about those things where we have common interest."

Among the main topics discussed in the past are annexation and road projects.

The towns have reached informal agreements on annexation, and they have combined their efforts in certain highway requests to the Missouri Department of Transportation.

"For both points of view, we're always stronger when we're working together rather than apart," said Cape Girardeau city manager Michael Miller.

Among the items to be discussed at the 7:30 p.m. joint council meeting at Jackson City Hall today include:

An update by the mayors on the status of current projects and issues.

Presentation by presiding county commissioner Gerald Jones regarding the Cape Girardeau County Nature Center.

A presentation by Don Dickerson, president of the Southeast Missouri State University Board of Regents, regarding the proposed research park near Interstate 55 and East Main.

Discussion regarding the Metropolitan Planning Organization.

A joint resolution of the Cape Girardeau City Council and the Jackson Board of Aldermen expressing and confirming mutual support for planning and construction of three highway projects of regional importance by the Missouri Department of Transportation.

bmiller@semissourian.com

335-6611, extension 127

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