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Despite Inclement Weather, Low Turnout Of Cape Voters Approve Capital Improvement Sales Tax

Lindsey Grojean/KRCU
Common Pleas Courthouse in downtown Cape Girardeau

Residents in the city of Cape Girardeau approved the renewal of a 1/4-cent “Capital Improvement Sales Tax” (CIST) during the August special election on Tuesday. It's intended to go towards critical infrastructure, which was set to expire at the end of 2019. 

The tax was initially approved by voters in the 1990s, and has since transitioned Cape from Mississippi River water to well water, renovated the city’s water treatment plant, and eliminated combined sewer and stormwater pipes. It was approved along with another similar tax that was extended in 2011 to establish a new wastewater treatment plant on flood-free, higher ground by 2037. 

The renewal will take effect in 2020 and last until 2034. City officials expect the tax to make further improvements to the city’s water system by replacing galvanized pipes with

stronger PVC. It will also provide a replacement terminal and tower at the Cape Girardeau Regional Airport, and secure access to the Common Pleas Courthouse as a public building for preservation, and possibly as a future home for city hall.

Next year, voters will have the opportunity to decide on Transportation Trust Fund 6, which could renovate city streets more quickly with the help of the CIST.

Cape Girardeau county clerk, Kara Clark Summers says the total turnout of under 1,500 votes ended up being just 6% of the voting population.

“We did have a little bit lower turnout,” Summers says. “We had a little bit of a storm come in. I don’t know if that deterred people from coming out at the end of the day.”

Regardless of the weather conditions, polls remained open until 7 p.m.

Summers says her office will be looking ahead to next year, which is bound to be a busy year. She added they also appreciate the public’s cooperation on election day.