Letter to the Editor

City should halt projects like city hall

On May 25, 2019 the Southeast Missouri printed an article which said:

"Cape Girardeau city government expenses are exceeding revenue, forcing city staff to look at making changes to city operations going forward, including possibly cutting services."

I believe this situation is especially troubling for the following reasons:

* The city raises about 45 percent of its revenue from sales taxes. Since the country is presently in the 10th year of an economic expansion, one would expect local growth to cover the city's expenses.

* Nationwide this year there has been some 7,062 retail store closures. The total for year could top 12,000. This trend is apparent on the local level. Approximately 30% of the spaces at West Park Mall, which could be used for retail stores, are vacant or used for other activities. Downtown Cape is pock marked by a significant number of empty store fronts.

* Internet sales are having a considerable impact on traditional retail stores. It is remarkable that 100 million individuals have paid to become members of Amazon Prime. And it is not the full extent of internet or mail order sales. Frequently in transactions such as these, sales tax is not collected. Or if it is collected, there is no guarantee the money is forwarded to our city.

Therefore, I suggest that the city council halt projects such as the new city hall until it finds a method to raise city revenue which promises to be an improvement over the use of sales taxes.

JOHN PIEPHO, Cape Girardeau