Cape Girardeau city leaders meet about future projects

CAPE GIRARDEAU, MO (KFVS) - Cape Girardeau city leaders met Thursday night to talk about which projects they will set in motion over the next five years.

City Manager Scott Meyer says the capital improvement program used to be a type of wish list of projects for the city, but now it's more of how to best use the city's revenue going forward.

It's a budget of about $12 million a year from taxes, casino revenue and grants.

Meyer says they want the plan to prevent future threats to the financial status of the city.

"When I came here, the wastewater treatment plant was something all of a sudden on top of us, and then we had to rush to take care of it," said Meyer. "We don't want that to happen in the future. We want to look out into the future and say these are things that need to be addressed, and then systematically work through those things so that they're addressed in a timely fashion. In a fashion that's really cheaper for tax payers, because it has time to be planned and designed, and not a hurry up and rush impact to budgets."

It's about $60 million dollars over the next five years. But, there's a list of projects totally $156 million dollars. So leaders are prioritizing the projects.

The casino is expected to add about $5 million dollars to the city over the next five years.

"Its another funding source, we have had in previous, and also this budget unfunded needs," said Cape Girardeau city Mayor Harry Rediger. "The income from the casino will help to fund an additional some of those projects, so with that additional funding source we will get a few more projects than we had, we are looking forward to it."

But, just because there's added revenue, doesn't mean every project will get done.

"We're going to have some people think, well we've got the casino now, all our needs are done, and that's not the case. We still need to pay attention to our Transportation Trust Fund, our Parks and Recs, our Fire Tax, all those things that have brought out city forward, to the point where we're very proud of where our city is in relation to many other cities in our nation, so it's all a piece of the puzzle," said Rediger.

Meyer said one of the biggest issues is facilities. They're looking at updates to the Police Station, City Hall, and a transfer station.

If you want to share your thoughts on a project or idea, the city will hold a public hearing at the next meeting on February 19, 2013.

The plan should be finalized at the end of March.

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