Newsletter Issue: June 2018

Download the June 2018 Issue (PDF Version)

Upcoming Meetings

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Installation and Anniversary Dinner

 

Over 200 League members, legislators and guests gathered on May 24 at the Renaissance Hotel in Berkeley to install new officers and board members and to celebrate the League’s 100th anniversary.

The new officers and board members are:

  • President – Mayor Norm McCourt of Black Jack
  • Vice President – Councilmember Ruth Springer of Olivette
  • Finance Chairman – Mayor James Knowles of Ferguson
  • Board Members – Alderwoman Michelle Harris of Clayton
  • Board Member – Alderwoman Cara Spencer of St. Louis

Two awards were presented.  The first ever Friend of Local Government Award went to State Senator Gina Walsh and the annual Buzz Westfall Award for Excellence in Local Government was presented to former County Executive Charlie Dooley.  Charlie is a former Mayor of Northwoods and served as League President in 1994-95.

We were also pleased to welcome Clarence Anthony, the Executive Director of the National League of Cities as keynote speaker.  He congratulated League members on the 100th anniversary and urged local leaders to continue to strive for excellence in serving constituents.  He stressed that public policy makes a difference in our communities.

 

 

League Night at the Muny

In celebration of the League’s 100 Year        Anniversary elected officials, city staff, affiliates and friends of the League are invited to a special night at the Forest Park Muny Opera to see Meet Me In St. Louis on Saturday,  August 11, 2018.

Tickets are $75 which include a backstage tour and dinner followed by the fabulous stage version of the memorable 1944 MGM motion picture Meet Me In St. Louis.

For more information or to make your reserve contact the League   office at; STAFF@STLMUNI.ORG

 

Round 19 Municipal Park Grants Open

The Municipal Park Grant       Commission is pleased to announce that $6.6 million has been allocated for park grant projects in Round 19.  The application has been posted on the Park Commission website, www.muniparkgrants.org. The application link can be found on the Grant Application page. This year, all applicants will be required to register an account on the website in order to submit an application. This will help us provide a more effective service and support process to our applicants.  In the prior year, we allowed user registrations, but it was not a requirement to submit an application.  If you have already registered, your account is still valid and can be used to log in and submit your application again this year.  If you have already  registered in the prior year, but have forgotten your password, follow the reset instruction.  If you are not sure which email address you might have registered with, you can either create a new account using a new email address of your preference, or you can contact us via email for assistance or call 314-726-4747.

 

Cities Awarded Body Camera Grant

The Cities of Bellefontaine Neighbors, Brentwood, Bridgeton, Clayton, Moline Acres, Town and Country, Richmond Heights and the University of Missouri-St. Louis police force worked with REJIS (Regional Justice Information Services) to apply for a $400,000 federal grant to equip their combined 260 officers with body cameras.

REJIS was formed as a partnership between St. Louis        City and county police departments in 1974.  Today, REJIS is the leading provider of cutting-edge information technology (IT) services and products for the criminal justice community and government agencies in Missouri, Kansas and parts of Illinois.  

Former St. Louis Police Chief Dan Isom, who is now director of REJIS worked with the chiefs to land the grant.   REJIS will manage the video collected by the cameras from the eight police departments, and could become the hub for body camera video storage for the region and the state.  The collaborative nature of the application submitted by the eight departments gave it an edge in being awarded the grant.

“The cost to store video often prices small departments out of the market for body cameras, and REJIS is hoping to change that by offering it at a lower cost to multiple agencies through economies of scale.  Body-worn cameras are one of the hottest topics in law enforcement, and it makes sense that we should figure out how to assist law enforcement in this space and make it easier,” Isom said.

 

Park Grant Workshops

Park grant applicants are encouraged to attend one of the pre-application meetings where background information on the grant process will be provided.  Two points will be awarded to those cities sending a municipal official and one point for a consultant.  Professional consultants retained by the city qualify for attendance points provided such consultants identify the cities they represent at the pre-application workshop. Meetings should last an hour, with time for individual questions afterwards.

The dates and locations are:

Tuesday, June 12, 5:00 p.m. at Normandy City Hall, 7700 Natural Bridge Rd.

Thursday June 14, 9:00 a.m. at Webster Groves Recreation Center, 33 E. Glendale, just south of I-44 at the Elm Ave. exit

Wednesday, June 20, 9:00 a.m. at Maryland Heights City Hall Municipal Court Room at the Government Center, 11911 Dorsett Road

In addition to the construction grants, the Commission is also accepting applications for Planning Grants.  These will be due by Thursday, July 26 for consideration by the Commission at their August meeting.  These applications are also on the Park Commission website on the Grant Application page.

 

Social Security Dips Into Reserves

According to a report by the trustees of Social Security, program cost will exceed income this year for the first time since 1982.  To fully fund the programs the Administration will dip into its $3 trillion trust fund to cover benefits.  Economic indicators estimate that unless Congress acts to bolster program finances the reserves will be depleted by 2034 causing the Administration to reduce benefits by 25% thereafter.

 

Legislative Recap

              Bills of Interest that Passed:

  • Utility rates – SB 564 allows utility companies to pursue rate changes without necessarily going through the normal process with the Public Service Commission.  Those who opposed this legislation have concerns that it will cause rates to go up. SIGNED
  • Small Cell Deployment – HB 1991 establishes a statewide framework for telecommunications companies to deploy 5G technology. SIGNED
  • Tax credits – SB 590 reduces the cap on historic tax credits from $140 million to $120 million.  HB 1288 extends several tax credit programs. SIGNED
  • Opioids – SB 826 limits the time by which a doctor can prescribe opioids for acute pain to one week and permits medication take back receptacles at DEA-authorized locations.
  • Raise the age – SB 793 increases the minimum age to be tried as an adult from 17 to 18 years old. SIGNED
  • Tax cuts – HB 2540 decreases the individual tax rate from 5.9 to 5.5 percent, and SB 884 lowers the corporate tax rate from 6.25 to 4 percent.
  • Gas tax – HB 1460 places a measure on the November ballot that would raise the gas tax by ten cents over a four-year period.  Revenues would be used for transportation infrastructure improvements.

                    Legislation that Failed to Pass:

  • Sunshine law – HB 2523 expanded the Attorney General’s authority to investigate Sunshine law violations, and significantly increased fines for violating the law.
  • Lobbyist gift ban/term limits – SJR 27 would have asked voters to approve a ballot measure to ban lobbyist gifts to elected officials and also would have changed the current term limit requirements.
  • Medical marijuana – HB 1554 would have permitted terminally ill patients to use smokeless marijuana as a pain reliever.
  • Work requirements – HB 1486 would have required recipients of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program to meet specific work requirements in order to continue receiving the benefit.
  • Failure to appear – SB 553 would have corrected a municipal court problem wherein there are currently no repercussions for failing to appear for a court date related to a municipal traffic violation.

 

Who Is Governor Parson?

Governor Mike Parson, 62, was born and raised in Wheatland, Missouri and is a third-generation farmer.  He spent six years in the US Army,  serving two tours with the Military Police Corps, before returning home to Missouri. He was a sheriff’s deputy in Hickory County and later became sheriff in Polk County, a position he held for 12 years.

Parson was elected to the Missouri House of Representatives in 2004 and then the Missouri Senate in 2010. He was elected lieutenant governor in 2016.

Two of the most consequential pieces of legislation Mr. Parson co-sponsored as a state lawmaker were an      expansion of Missouri’s Castle Doctrine and an amendment that added the right to farm and ranch to Missouri’s Constitution.

The Castle Doctrine allows homeowners and renters to use deadly force in self-defense, a measure Mr. Parson’s says  “that Missourians have the right to protect themselves and their families from intruders without worrying that they will wind up the victim of a lawsuit from the criminal who was trying to harm them.” It is similar to “stand your ground” laws that have caused controversy in other states.

The constitutional amendment on farming, which voters approved in 2014, states, “The right of farmers and ranchers to engage in farming and ranching practices shall be forever guaranteed in the state.” Among its     critics are environmental groups, which say the amendment made it harder to hold farmers to account for unsafe practices.

 

HERO Helping Area Homeowners Save on Energy Bills

Over 100 homes in St. Louis County have made  energy-related improvements since HERO Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) financing became available in late 2016. HERO is offered via public-private partnership with the Missouri Clean   Energy District (MCED) and empowers homeowners to make eligible improvements – such as replacing       inefficient HVAC systems or going solar – and pay for them over time through a voluntary,        additional line item on their property taxes.

Laurence Banks, Hazelwood, used HERO to replace his 16-year-old heating and cooling system this past winter and immediately noticed a difference in his family’s home. “We didn’t have to set the furnace as high to keep the house warm, and could use less energy,” Banks said. “When we looked at our options, HERO financing was the smart thing to do. This is a great alternative for people who need to make energy upgrades and should be more widely available.”

St. Louis-area real estate Broker Carolyn Mantia also applauds HERO as an option for home   improvements: “As a REALTOR®, I meet homeowners daily who could benefit from this vital tool. HERO upgrades can help homeowners live more comfortably, lower utility bills, and may increase the value of their homes. HERO doesn’t use taxpayer money, and offers our community another way to encourage solar energy, more efficient windows, roofs, and other improvements that can help meet our greenhouse gas targets. HERO has an exemplary track record in creating jobs, stimulating the economy, and protecting consumers. St. Louis homeowners deserve more choices and opportunities when it comes to home improvement!”

Currently, there is a bill moving through the County Council (Bill #305) that would make MCED’s HERO financing option available to homeowners across St. Louis County. Approval of the bill will give homeowners more options to modernize their homes, save energy and enhance their comfort at home, while increasing demand for local contractor services.

To date, HERO-financed home upgrades in St. Louis County are projected to save homeowners over 10 million kilowatt-hours of electricity – and over $1.5 million on their electric bills – over the expected useful life of the products installed. That is enough energy to power over 1,100 homes for a full calendar year. The improvements are also projected to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by over 4,500 tons – equivalent to taking more than 850 cars off the road.

HERO’s industry-leading consumer protections go beyond those found with other forms of      home-improvement financing. To help homeowners easily understand their financing terms before they finalize their contracts, HERO provides homeowners with written disclosures modeled on the federal “Know-Before-You-Owe” forms for mortgage lending and confirms terms with all customers in a live, recorded call. Additionally, all contractors who make HERO-financed improvements have agreed to not receive payment until the homeowner confirms they are satisfied with the finished project.

This article was submitted by Brian Handshy, Director of Market Development for Renovate    America an affiliate member of the League.  For more information or to learn more about the HERO program you can contact Brian at bhandshy@renovateamerica.com or 816-400-6969.