Shine a Light on City Government - 9-4-20
Friends & Neighbors,
We have been pretty busy since my last report.
Dardenne Prairie Athletic Complex
Work continues on the Athletic Complex. Rough grading is almost done. Sewer pipes are being installed. Once the sanitary sewer, storm sewer, and electric utilities are in place you will notice major progress in finish grading and the start of construction. The project will be complete by April 1, 2021, in time for the spring youth baseball and softball season.
Dardenne Prairie New Comprehensive Plan
The Planning & Zoning Commission has been working on revisions to the Comprehensive plan which is used to guide future growth and development of the City. The Commission will hold a Public Hearing at City Hall on Wednesday, September 9 at 7:00 PM to receive comments from residents and other interested parties concerning the new plan. The plan, as presently drafted, can be read by going to www.dardenneprairie.org.
The changes to the previous version of the Plan deal, primarily, with future land use. The prior version, published in 2014, was crafted before Rt. 364 was completed. Since Rt 364 has been brought into service, traffic patterns on Feise Rd., South Outer 364, Highway N between K and Bryan, and Highway N west of Bryan (now named Town Square Avenue) have changed significantly. What were once thought to be prime locations for commercial businesses are unlikely to be developed for such uses. The Planning & Zoning Commission has, therefore, revised the future land use section of the plan. I urge residents and interested parties to review the plan and share your comments with the Commission.
Prairie Day 2020
The annual Dardenne Prairie Day is set for Saturday, September 12. There will be two bands this year: Griffin and the Gargoyles play from 1:00 to 5:00. Plastic Kings play from 6:00 to 11:00. Food trucks, inflatables, vendors, crafts and games from Noon to 5:00 PM. We urge visitors to observe social distancing and please wear a face mask.
Sale of City Property in the Hubble Court Industrial Area
Several years ago the City purchased a 3 acre parcel in the Hubble Court industrial area. It was thought, at the time, that the County would soon cease to provide road repair services to Dardenne Prairie and several other cities that did not have their own public works departments. Over the years the staff and Aldermen have discussed whether it was financially practical for the City to invest in its own Public Works Department that would plow snow in winter, fill potholes, and provide the other services we get from the County Highway Department under contract. The investment in vehicles, equipment, and a building to house them, plus the annual costs of additional employees seemed too high compared to what we pay to the County. The Board of Aldermen concluded that holding on to the 3-acre parcel did not serve the public’s interest. The Board approved the sale of the property to WHI Property LLC, which will build its headquarters on the site and will train technicians to build and service wireless towers. Their business will employ about 15 at the headquarters but it will employ over 100 technicians who work off site. The City will receive about $375,000 for the property and will see a boost to annual property tax revenues from the addition of a large, new facility on site.
Annual Budget Cycle
The City Staff is working on the budget for 2021. We have a number of challenges in forecasting revenue for next year, largely due to the impact of COVID 19. So far this year, sales tax revenue through July 31 is down roughly $16,000 from 2019 or only about 1%. Frankly, that is far better than some other cities are reporting. We are also planning on an increase in street repairs next year and that will require the City to dip into reserves. Your Board of Aldermen will review and revise the Staff’s budget proposal (as it does every year) but rest assured, they are thoughtful and prudent as they weigh the wants and needs of the residents and make decisions that reflect fiscal responsibility.
The next meeting of the Board of Aldermen is scheduled for September 16. The Work Session begins at 6:00 PM and the Business Meeting begins at 7:00 PM. Come to City Hall to see your City Government at work!
“Shine a Light on City Government”DAVID C. ZUCKER
City of Dardenne Prairie, MO