Council passes budget, draws emergency funds and moves forward on pools

City council approves budget

CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. (KFVS) - The Cape Girardeau City Council passed a budget for the next fiscal year at Monday nights meeting.

Most of the city expenses will be about the same with a few departments getting more money thanks to some federal grants.

People will see their trash bill go up about five percent, some of it due to the increased cost of recycling.

Their water bill will be up two and half percent.

Mayor Bob Fox says that the city is seeing lost revenue due the Missouri Legislature not passing a tax on internet goods.

“Well, it is costing us between 2 and 3 million dollars a year every year that we don’t. It is not fair to the merchants. It is not fair to the local merchants who have people pay that sales tax and people who pay online don’t. It’s not just a Cape Girardeau problem, it’s a Missouri problem. Our state budget has been decimated by COVID-19 and I would have really thought with this crisis facing us, this would be the time they had to do something. Yet they still didn’t.”

The budget will become final after passing a second reading next month.

Council tonight also made an emergency declaration due to lost revenue because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The declaration will allow them to use money from the emergency funds to make up some of the estimated 4 million dollars in lost tax revenue this year.

The money will be repaid to the fund by using the Casino revenue money that isn’t allocated to other projects, such as the Riverfront Development Fund and the expenses related to the new city hall.

This is the second emergency declaration this year.

The first was when city services where shut down due to a cyber-attack in January.

The city authorized up to a million dollars to repair and secure their online services.

But only about a quarter of that was needed.

Once it barrows the funds, council is required to repay it within ten years.

In 2008 the city also did an Emergency Declaration to help cover lost revenue due to the Ice Storm of that year.

The council also voted to move forward on the “two pool” proposal with Cape Girardeau Public Schools.

The proposal would include a new pool at Jefferson Elementary and refurbishing “the bubble” at the Junior High School.

At the meeting, the city manager was authorized to start discussing managing the pool with the school board.

“Basically the staff will draw up a formal agreement with the cost being shared on a fifty-fifty basis," Mayor Fox explained. "Not sixty-forty like it was before. Which in the end will cost the school board a little more money but will save the city, citizens some money. But the important thing is that the school is getting started on this Jefferson project, and they want the aquatic center to be part of that so they can incorporate the design and some of that at the same time.”

One Tuesday, inspectors will be at the Bubble to look at what it will take to refurbish the pool - by checking the foundation and walls.

Council hasn’t met in chambers since March due to COVID-19.

Chairs were removed from podium, seating was limited to every third seat, and microphones were wiped down after every speaker addressed the council.

Copyright 2020 KFVS. All rights reserved.