Cape Girardeau planning to use tax money on employee wages

Published: Dec. 6, 2021 at 11:05 PM CST|Updated: Dec. 6, 2021 at 11:24 PM CST
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CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. (KFVS) - Cape Girardeau City Council wasted no time in preparing how to spend the money that is expected to be raised by the just passed internet sales tax.

At Monday’s council meeting, Mayor Bob Fox said the council is living up to their promise on how they would spend the money.

The proposal they heard Monday night will spend nearly $2.2 million in the next 2 budget cycles in raises for city employees.

City Finance Director, Dustin Ziebold, presented a plan that he says would allow the city to be competitive when it comes to hiring new employees and retaining current workers.

Ziebold said, “With the passage of the internet sales tax, the promise to our citizens it was going to be used for the recruitment and retention of our employees. We are going to straighten our pay plan and take care of our front liners. And that is what the plan is designed to do. That is why now is key.”

The plan would overhaul the current pay plan over the next two years using the Use Tax or “Internet Sales Tax” fund and funds from open positions to ensure employees are paid fairly and competitively.

It will use a step program that provides a bigger increase during a preset employment anniversary.

General employees will see a larger increase every five years. Public safety employees will see the increase every four years.

There will still be general wage increases each year.

The changes will take 2 years to take place, beginning with the 2022 fiscal budget in July.

Ziebold estimates that getting all employees on the scale will cost the city about $1.19 million next year and $1.01 million in the 2023 budget.

The plan was developed by the finance director, city manager, Dr. Ken Haskin and the city department directors.

Last week the state of Missouri announced that some money from the tax may be available earlier than expected.

Before the changes are added to the next budget, Director Ziebold asked the council to vote on the plan and give it their approval.

Council members said they would get input from the city employees and return to vote on the proposal at a later date.

Council also approved a change of zoning for 1301 and 1316 North Main Street.

It is the former site of the Red Star Baptist Church. The owners have plans for a commercial use of the property.

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