When Jackson City Council convenes for its next regular meeting on Monday evening, Sept. 10, members are expected to be presented with a proposed ordinance to reduce electric rates by 3 percent for residential customers who live within the city.
During council's most recent regular meeting on Monday, Aug. 27, Council's Utility Committee Chairman Jon Ondera reported that he anticipated an electric-rate reduction ordinance being presented at the next regular meeting. The Utility Committee formally recommended the 3-percent rate reduction for in-city residences at council's July 23 meeting. The Utility Committee had met July 19 with consultants on the results of an electric-rate study. The reductions would not apply to commercial or industrial customers or to residential customers who reside outside the city limits. Second Ward Councilman Ron Queen stated he felt residential customers outside the city should also receive the rate reduction.
Council members seemed to be strongly in favor of offering an electric-rate reduction after imposing a 1 percent city income tax on May 22. The new income tax took effect on July 1, but the income-tax issue will be back on the ballot in the form of a proposed ordinance for repeal after a successful initiative petition was recently submitted to the Jackson County Board of Elections. If the electorate votes to repeal, the income tax would be voided.
Other Meeting Topics
Other topics addressed by Jackson City Council at the Aug. 27 meeting included the following:
-- Mayor Randy Heath reported that the police department is using the speed trailer at various locations in the city. The speed trailer displays the traveling speeds of motorists and the mayor feels it serves as an effective deterrent to speeding.
-- Service/Safety Director Bill Sheward reported that work crews were close to finishing all work on the rebuilding of McCarty Lane. Mayor Heath pointed out this was a $2 million project with most of the funding coming from outside sources and he credited Sheward for working to secure the necessary funding.
-- Councilman Queen asked if the city could collect fees from the Columbia Gas Co. for work it does on the city's utility rights-of-way. Heath said he did not believe any other city had been able to charge and collect such fees.
-- Sheward reported that city crews are "mowing grass as fast as we can." Heath added that 25 properties with high grass and weeds had already been mowed.
-- Councilman Queen asked about the process to appoint a new police chief to replace the retired Carl Eisnaugle. He declared the city should "get the best candidate" it can and not just go on the three top scores on a civil-service test. Sheward replied he was "not sure how much flexibility" there was to adjust and said that applicants could perhaps be awarded extra points for length of service and/or military service. Council President Eric Brown said he would contact Law Director Joe Kirby to ask about this issue.
-- Mound Street resident John Peters spoke regarding the city's mowing ordinance. He reported that he had discovered that some cities require mowing based on the specific height of the grass as opposed to being tied to mowing high grass during certain periods of the spring and summer. He also said that it was council's responsibility to send the notification letters to violators, not the mayor or service director.
-- Queen asked if the city had failed to lower all of its American flags to half-staff in honor of the deceased John McCain. Heath was not aware, but said he would check on this.