Newsletter Issue: April 2019

Download the April 2019 Issue (PDF Version)

Upcoming Meetings

Membership Meeting
04/25/2019 - 6:30 PM
Black Jack City Hall

April 25 Meeting– Black Jack City Hall

The next League meeting will be held at Black Jack City Hall, 12500 Old Jamestown Road. Black Jack, MO 63033; (MAP). Refreshments will be served at 6:30 pm. The meeting will begin promptly at 7:15.

The main agenda item will be the election of officers and board    members for the 2019-20 year. The slate of candidates recommended by the Nominating Committee will be forwarded in advance of the meeting.

Program: We will also hear from  Jennifer Vuitel of East-West Gateway Council of Governments (EWG).  Since 2004, East-West Gateway Council of Governments has worked with the city of St. Louis and the  Missouri counties of St. Charles, Franklin, Jefferson, and St. Louis to create, revise, and update the St. Louis Regional Hazard Mitigation

Plan. Hazard mitigation activities are actions that can be taken to protect people and property from natural hazards such as floods, severe storms, and extreme temperatures.

The Plan is updated every five years, and EWG is currently seeking input on the 2020-2025 Plan. The goal of the planning process is to identify the key actions and opportunities for each jurisdiction, but implementation of the plan is voluntary. The benefit to cities and school districts that adopt the plan is eligibility for hazard mitigation grants that can help pay for flood  buyouts, tornado safe rooms,         retrofitting infrastructure, and even generators.

Jennifer will explain in more detail how your municipality could benefit from participation in the program.

Muni Awards & 100th Leagues Installation Dinner

Since their inception, the MUNI Awards have provided an opportunity for League members from across the County to come together to recognize their fellow municipalities and take home a MUNI Award.  You can be a winner this year by nominating your city or a group within your city for achievement in one of the following categories:  Arts/Culture;  Citizen Engagement; Collaboration; Parks/Recreation/Wellness; Public  Safety, and Sustainability/ reservation.  To nominate, send a letter to the League office identifying the city, organization or person and why that group or individual should be recognized for accomplishment in one of the designated categories. Nominations must be received at the Municipal League office by April 19. Winning a MUNI Award tells your residents what you are doing right for your community. Then, join us on May 23 at the Renaissance Hotel in Berkeley when the MUNI Awards will be presented and new Municipal League officers will be installed.

Park Planning Grants Available

The Municipal Park Grant Commission is accepting applications for quarterly planning grants. Applications are available on the Park website: www.muniparkgrants.com. Applications are due by April 24 so that they can be reviewed by the Commissioners at their next meeting in May.

Planning grants can be used for park master plans, master plan updates or for specific park projects. Cities are eligible for up to $6,400 and are required to match at least 20% of the planning cost. Cities can apply for planning grants annually. Having current, updated planning documents, cost analyses and public input increases the chances for receiving park construction grants.  

If you have questions about the Planning Grant applications, please contact the Municipal League office at staff@stlmuni.org or 314-726-4747.

General Code Introduces eCode360 MapLink

Show where the possibilities for your community live—on an interactive zoning map

Just about every prospective business and property owner will ask these key questions:

“Where can I open my business?”

“What can I do with my property?”

With eCode360® MapLink™, finding the answers to these questions is as easy as clicking on a map.

Users can click a parcel on the map to view dimensional requirements, allowable uses and zoning districts. They can even search an intended land use to view a list of properties where that use is allowed. When your community’s zoning information is   presented visually like this, business and property owners can easily find opportunities that fit your community’s vision for economic development.

eCode360 MapLink is a service that presents your community’s Zoning Code data from eCode360 in an interactive map from ZoningHub™. As updates are made to your municipality’s Zoning Code and posted on eCode360, the data is updated simultaneously in MapLink. With MapLink, you can be confident that business and  property owners are always working with the most accurate zoning requirements—and your municipal staff doesn’t have to lift a finger.

“As far as comparisons to other [services] like this, [MapLink] definitely offers more benefits,” said Adam Jones, City Planner for The City of Crestwood, MO. “The way setbacks, height restrictions and other standards are presented just by clicking on a property makes zoning information easy to interpret and use. It’s going to positively  impact the way that our residents and staff interact with our Codes,” he adds.

To learn more about MapLink and how it can help grow your community, visit generalcode.com/MapLink or contact      General Code’s Missouri representative, Susan Lane at 314-603-6405 or 800-836-8834 or by email at lane@generalcode.com.

 

March Meeting Synopsis

At the March 28 meeting the membership unanimously approved a resolution opposing the Better Together plan.  The resolution cited numerous reasons why the Better Together plan would be detrimental for the residents, businesses and local governments in the County.  The resolution also supports the creation of a Board of Freeholders/Electors which would provide an open, public process for consideration of changes to the governmental structure of the City and County and, most importantly, a local vote.

The guest speaker was Dr. Terry Jones of UM – St. Louis who had been invited to provide analysis of the Better Together plan. Dr. Jones notes that the St. Louis region does need to continue to improve to compete against metropolitan areas in the US and worldwide. In response to Better Together’s references to merged metropolitan areas, he indicates that research shows these mergers have been a mixed bag, at best.

St. Louis County has quality local governments, many with professional managers and involved citizens.  He believes that regionalism has been very well received in the City and County with over 40 institutions and agencies that have been created for the provision of services and the welfare of the citizens. These include, among others, MSD, the Zoo-Museum District, and the Junior College District.  He suggests that regionalism will be accepted incrementally by local residents.

He believes the Better Together plan would be detrimental to the City and County and is one of the most un-democratic proposals ever created.  It was developed with no involvement of local  officials or citizens.  All constitutions and charters developed in Missouri and the US are citizen  driven and require voter approval.  The Better  Together plan would charge the Mayor of St. 

Louis and the County Executive with the task of creating the new charter which would be approved unless voted down by 2/3 of the new 33 member metropolitan council.  Charter changes would require 2/3 approval by the voters.

The new Metro City would confiscate all  local government property except parks. Municipal employees would have no guarantee of future jobs.  The municipalities in the County would be termed “municipal districts” and would have little power other than overseeing parks and trash service.  The metropolitan council could vote municipal districts out of existence with a majority vote.

Dr. Jones indicated that he is working with other local researchers to complete a financial analysis of the plan, which should be released in the near future.  Their initial research shows that the cost savings envisioned by supporters would be insufficient to cover the loss of taxes that are planned (the City earnings tax and 1/2 of the County property tax).  The plan also makes no provision for the issuance of debt to finance large capital projects or other needs.

He said that past research shows no correlation between the number of cities and regional success.  For example, Pittsburgh has a large number of suburbs and is thriving.  He listed three fields that needed to compete on a world scale.  These are:  education, particularly college graduate; venture capital, which is doing well; and foreign born population who create jobs, where the region is not doing as well.

He suggested a 5-8 year to-do list for the region, which includes the coordination of transportation policy through Bi-State and East-West Gateway; economic development coordination for the entire region, including Southwest Illinois; and the consolidation of public health services.

We would like to thank Mayor Mike Schneider and the officials and employees of the City of Overland who hosted the meeting.

Newly Elected Officials Seminar

The League will hold its Annual Seminar for Newly Elected Officials at 4:30 pm Monday, April 29 at the Maryland Heights Community Center, 2300 McKelvey Rd.  63043

The cost is $30 which includes materials and a buffet dinner.

We hope all of our newly elected officials will join us for an informative introduction to municipal government presented by municipal attorneys from the Curtis, Heinz, Garrett & O’Keefe law firm.

Topics that will be covered include: 

  • Role of the League
  • Working with Neighboring Cities and Officials
  • Overview of Municipal Structure and Authority
  • Introduction to Your Municipal court
  • Open Meetings (Sunshine) Law
  • Conflict of Interest/Ethics

Invitations and registration materials have been sent to all newly elected League members and to all municipal clerks.  You can  also contact the office directly at 314-726-4747 or staff@stlmuni.org.

 

Municipal League Resolution Adopted March 28, 2019

Municipal League Resolution

Board of Freeholders Initiative Petitions

We are asking elected officials and volunteers to turn in any petitions they currently have by April 15.  The petitions will be submitted to the St. Louis County Election Board for an initial tabulation of certified signatures so that we can determine how many are still need. 

You are encouraged to continue collecting signatures through the end of May.  League staff will be scheduling multi-city  municipal employee meetings to educate the employees on the impact of the Better Together proposal.  The meetings will be after working hours and participation will be completely volunteer.  Once the dates and location are announced we will need your help in notifying the employees.  Better Together has been holding meetings with municipal police departments, we feel it is important for all the employees to be informed on their future employment.

The elected officials in the City of Bridgeton have submitted over 1000 signatures to date.  It is up to each elected official to do your part collecting signatures for the board of freeholds process.  This will allow for a transparent, public forum for your constituents to express their opinions on the governmental structure by which they want to live.

Local Government Summer Institute

The Municipal League of Metro St. Louis and the East-West Gateway Council of Governments is  launching a new training opportunity for elected officials and municipal staff. The Local Government Summer Institute will offer targeted, in-depth professional development on a rotating set of topics each summer. The program will consist of three half-day workshops:

Friday, June 14 — Preparing Your Community for Disaster

  • Session 1: What To Expect When Disaster Strikes — What elected officials and non-emergency staff can expect if there’s a large-scale disaster.
  • Session 2: Joplin Panel — Hear from first responders who were on duty during the Joplin tornado in 2011.

Friday July 12 — Leadership and Management

  • Developing new leaders in your community — Programs your community can use to educate residents and encourage participation in local government.

Friday, August 9 — Good Governance 101

  • Session 1: Effective Meetings — Using Robert’s Rules to facilitate productive meeting management.
  • Session 2: Sunshine Law Compliance — Casey Lawrence, Director of Sunshine Law Compliance Records and              Management, Office of Missouri Attorney General.

Each workshop will run from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 a.m. at the Maryland Heights City Hall. Registration and more detailed information on each course will be available soon. For more information or questions, contact Frank Johnson at frank@ewgateway.org or 314-421-4220, or Pat Kelly at pkelly@stlmuni.org or 314-726-4748.

LEGISLATIVE UPDATE

There are  two main joint resolutions (constitutional amendments) that the League is supporting.  If either were to pass, the Governor would set the election date – either August or November of 2020. We would obviously prefer August so that if the BT proposal passed it would still require a local vote for approval.  If the Governor were to pick November, our understanding is that the proposal with the highest number of votes would take precedence. That is, if our proposal got a higher number of votes than the BT proposal, it would still require a local vote. However, if the BT proposal got a higher number of votes then our proposal would be moot.

HJR 54 (Plocher) – constitutional amendment requiring ballots to merge or dissolve cities or counties only be approved if those cities or counties approve the ballot. General Laws Committee.  Heard 3/27. Committee vote scheduled 4/8.   

SJR 22 (Nasheed) – provides if any amendment to the Missouri Constitution directly modifies the form of government of one or more counties, cities, or towns then such amendment shall only go into effect if a majority of the voters in each affected county, city, or town vote in favor of the amendment. Local Government Committee. Heard 4/3

Other Bills of Interest:

HB 762 was third read on the House floor on April 4 and passed by a vote of 85-65. This bill, sponsored by Representative John Wiemann  (R-St. Charles):
•  requires municipalities to place all expenditures and vendor information on the Missouri Accountability Portal, maintained by the Office of Administration;
• levies a $100 per day fine on municipalities for late filings; and
•  municipalities that do not comply are subject to disincorporation proceedings.

SB 108, sponsored by Senator Andrew Koenig (R-Manchester). The bill modifies provisions relating to tax increment financing by redefining “blight,” requiring independent third-party examiners to determine blight status, and removes economic development as a factor for TIF justification. Additionally, the bill limits conservation areas and prohibits flood plains from the provisions of the bill. Senator Jamilah Nasheed (D-St. Louis) amended the bill, changing the use of blight in St. Louis County. It passed the Senate on April 4.

SB 207 (Emery) – allows any city or village to establish, by ordinance, an administrative adjudication system for certain municipal code violations.  Passed Committee 3/6. but has not yet moved to the floor.

HB 81 (Hill) – requires, small cities in St. Louis County, to disband police departments or contract for service. Currently in Rules Committee.