Taxpayers in the southeast Missouri town of Poplar Bluff could pay more than $40,000 for a $1,400 contribution to a civic organization.

The Poplar Bluff Daily American Republic obtained emails showing that all 239 city employees were offered one paid day off if they purchased a $6 ticket to an upcoming Rotary Club Spaghetti Day. The emails indicate the offer was made at the direction of City Manager Heath Kaplan, a Rotary Club member.

Messages seeking comment from Kaplan were not returned.

The average city worker makes $21.89 an hour. The newspaper estimates the cost to taxpayers at more than $40,000 if all workers participate.

City council members say Kaplan told them it was an effort to increase employee morale and engage workers in community events.