The final vote on a bill to set the minimum age for the sale of tobacco in the Jefferson City limits to 21 instead of 18 was delayed until the next City Council meeting in April.
During Monday night's meeting, it was announced the bill's sponsor, Fourth Ward Councilman Carlos Graham, had to go out of town due to the illness of a member of his family. Out of respect, the Council voted to table the measure.
The bill does not prohibit the possession of tobacco and related products by those 18 and older.
As they did last month when the bill was introduced, supporters from both the health care and education fields testified in favor of the measure that was put forth by the Tobacco 21 campaign to create this ordinance. The Council For Drug Free Youth has also said they will have the funds for the estimated 200 signs that would have to be put up if the measure is approved.
This program was first passed in Columbia in 2014, and supporters said about a third of government bodies in Missouri have implemented it since.
In Missouri, 17.1 percent of high school seniors smoke — higher than the national average of 14 percent.
Speaking against the measure Monday night was Jon Alewel, owner of three Convenient Food Mart stores in the city. He told councilmen this would be unfair to businesses like his, because customers can already go a short distance into Callaway County and purchase tobacco products at cheaper prices. Besides the loss of store revenue, he noted it would cut into tax dollars for the community. He added there were no consequences for those trying to purchase the products under this measure, but consequences would occur for the retailers.
"It's not fair," Alewel said. "If they want tobacco products, they'll try all day long to get them."
In other business:
A bill was passed at Monday's Council meeting to establish a joint public works project with Cole County.
This measure deals with improvements in the 1200 block of Myrtle Avenue. A roundabout is being planned on Myrtle at Swifts Highway and another could come in the future at Stadium Boulevard near Helias High School. The cost is not to exceed $500,000.
The city and county are each paying half the costs for the work with the money coming from their half-cent Capital Improvement Sales Taxes.
A proposal was approved from the Farmer Companies' Capital Mall JC, LLC of a Final Subdivision Plat, which won the Planning and Zoning Commission's unanimous OK last month.
The Farmer proposal noted Capital Mall "was developed in the late 1970s but was never formally divided into lots and outlots."
A development agreement approved by the Council in 2013 permitted the owner to divide the property into several lots based on existing tax parcel boundaries and outlined a plan that would require a formal subdivision plat at a future date, which is now.
The proposal suggests the 55.2-acre subdivision now features 11 lots. The plan excludes the Dillard's and JC Penney stores, which are owned by their respective companies. It also is platted around the Hy-Vee, the existing Capital Eight Theaters, a forest and a buffer yard adjacent to residential neighborhood. The proposal will create new lots, including near the existing Wendy's and Pizza Hut.
Among the bills introduced was an agreement with Rehagen Electric for $111,264 for the Madison Street Garage Lighting Upgrade and would also approve a supplemental appropriation from the City's Parking Fund to pay for the improvements. Besides the parking garage, the project also includes lighting improvements at both the Jefferson Street Parking Garage and the Miller Street Bus Storage Barn. This project will replace existing metal lighting with energy efficient lighting.
Another bill introduced would allow the city to accept a $121,832 grant from MoDOT to replace two Handi-Wheels buses which have gone beyond their useful life of 150,000 miles.