Joplin City Council meets for the last time this year

Several key items on the agenda
Joplin City Council meets for the last time this year

The Joplin City Council meeting tonight is to be their last meeting of 2018. A few items on the agenda to get through.

One of the items on the agenda was a report from the oversight committee for the capital improvement and public safety taxes. The report was brief, but touched on some positives and some negatives developing from the council’s decision earlier this year to use the public safety sales tax to fund salary increases for police and fire employees. While that has been worked into the budget for that tax, other things had to be changed and shifted around.

Ryan Jackson with the Tax Oversight Committee says, “Public Safety Sales tax, there are some things that have been re-shifted in that area, but as, funding is restricted, it kinda creates a balance issue of how to afford everything that has been presented to happen versus the needs of the city at this time.”

Also tonight, Clifford Wert with Connect2Culture made a presentation to council. The memorandum of understanding, or MOU, they have with the City of Joplin, stated they had to have met their fundraising goal by November 30th of 2018. They’re just over $2 million dollars shy of that goal and tonight asked for a formal extension until June 1st of 2019 to raise the remaining amount of money.

That’s a goal, Clifford Wert says they can reach easily, telling us “We believe the June deadline that we’ve had here by agreement is very adequate for us to continue, we still have multiple asks that are out, we have multiple contacts to be made.”

The Schaeffler Group, which owns F.A.G. Bearings in Joplin, asked for additional tax abatement bonds for expansion of their facility. The original amount was $56 million last year but they’re now asking to increase that amount to $68 million. The investment will allow Schaeffler to invest in equipment and employment to the tune of about 60 new jobs at the facility to expand their bearing manufacturing.

In a statement to KOAM News Now, David Thompson, The President of the company’s Industrial Division said, “The benefits of a potential tax abatement cannot be overstated: it would enable Schaeffler to invest more in employee training, increasing opportunities for local the local community and allowing Schaeffler to continue to make long-term investment decisions to be even more competitive in the global market.”

The council advanced that request for approval tonight.

The Connect2Culture extension request was approved on first reading tonight it will be advanced to it’s second and third reading at the January 7th, 2019 council meeting.