Letter to the Editor

Your View 12/28: A message from the mayor

Monday, December 29, 2003

In my last message, I shared with you the information that Council will be asking Sikeston's voters to adopt, on February 3, a revenue measure to address our future needs, particularly as they relate to Public Safety, LCRA, and higher education. This would be a 10-year plan that would move a portion of the costs associated with improving our community from our property owners to those who purchase goods and services within our community. Plus, we will lower personal/real estate taxes by 21%

This funding will be used to maintain competitive salaries and benefits that will allow Sikeston to attract and retain qualified, police officers, firefighters, and dispatchers.

Another community priority, the Land Clearance Redevelopment Authority, will allow us to complete the demolition process, and begin the redevelopment of those areas of our community that are plagued with vacant, dilapidated and condemned properties. If we are to save our older neighborhoods, and restore your property values we must make this a priority.

Higher education, whether it be preparatory classes for a college degree or specialized vocational training, is a vital element in our foundation for a better tomorrow. We need an educated, well-trained workforce to retain our current employers and attract new industry to our community. The Advisory Council of the Sikeston Area Higher Education Center has informed Council the expansion of their facility is required to meet the needs of this community.

Finally, I assure you that any reserves that are accumulated beyond the amounts needed for prudent financial management will be considered for future capital improvement projects. Further-more, I envision annual roundtable discussions for citizens to participate in this process.

Since our initial announcement of this proposed revenue measure, my fellow Council members and I have been seeking input from you, the residents of Sikeston. We wanted to know your thoughts, expectations, and questions on this issue. From your input, we have developed a plan that will be presented, by the full Council, during our Special City Council Meeting, on Monday, December 29.

While there as been an effort, by certain factions within the City, to misinform the public, the Council and I refuse to jump to hasty conclusions. Our goal is to provide you, the voter, with a well thought-out plan that addresses the needs of all our citizens in the years to come. We welcome your review of the plan being presented on December 29, and welcome your comments.

I'm Sikeston Proud!

Mike Marshall, Sikeston mayor