Newsletter Issue: March 2018

Download the March 2018 Issue (PDF Version)

Upcoming Meetings

Membership Meeting
03/22/2018 - 6:30 PM
Florissant Civic Center

March 22 Meeting at Florissant Civic Center

March 22 membership meeting at the Florissant Civic Center located at 1 James J. Eagan Dr.  The facility is  located at the southeast corner of Parker Road and Waterford Drive. (MAP).

PROGRAM: Kelly Ferrara, President of StratCommRx and communications consultant to the Municipal League of Metro St. Louis, will be the guest speaker at our March Membership Meeting. Kelly will share information on League branding and graphics updates, including a logo for our 100th anniversary, as well as messaging and social media strategies. We believe this information will be informative for members not only on the activities of the League, but also may be useful in planning communication strategies for your municipality.

 

February Meeting Synopsis

At the February meeting, the membership unanimously endorsed the report of the 21st Century Missouri Transportation Task Force.  The report recommends a  10 cent gas tax increase, a 12 cent diesel tax increase and increased fees for electric and other similar vehicles.

The speakers were Josh Ward, Mark Grueber and Erin Shank from the Missouri Department of Conservation.  Mr. Ward said that the mission of the MDC is to protects the State’s fish, wildlife and forests and Missouri has one of the most successful departments in the country.  He discuss the Community Conservation Program, which helps local governments connect to nature.  They have technical and planning assistance funding available for communities that have an interest in landscape management and management of invasive species.  He also noted that there is a similar regional program called Back to Nature STL Grants which has funds available for similar purposes.

Ms. Shank said that the Community Conservation Grants can be used to help improve urban wildlife habitat by training staff in natural landscape management.  This could include management of deer, coyotes and geese.  There are also resources to help restore pollinator habitat in North St. Louis County.

Mr. Grueber provided information on how municipalities can become Tree Cities.  The four requirements are:  the creation of a tree board; a tree care ordinance, expenses of $2 per capita on trees (planting, maintenance, removal, etc.) and an Arbor Day celebration. He noted that TRIM grants are available for tree removal and pruning.  OneSTL, under East-West Gateway, may offer planning for conservation and invasive species eradication.  He encouraged members to apply for the many grants that are available through the Department.  The League will also publicize these opportunities.

Thanks to the staff from the St. Louis Community Credit Union for hosting the meeting.

 

NEW 9-1-1 SERVICES AGREEMENT REQUIRED

St. Ann City Administrator Matt Conley represents the League on the Emergency Communications

Commission (ECC).  He notes that all munis in St. Louis County, regardless of whether or not they contract or provide their own police dispatching need to execute a new agreement for 9-1-1 service. 

The new “Next Generation  9-1-1 System”, will provide new technologies, redundant systems and lower overall operational cost.  Attached, (Next Generation 9-1-1), which includes a letter from the ECC explaining the new system and requirements and a Next Generation         9-1-1 questions and answers fact sheet that outlines many of the features of the NG 9-1-1 System and related questions that may arise. The new contract is still being drafted and will be forward to all municipalities.  Execution of the updated contract will ensure a smooth transition to NG9-1-1 for all participants while allowing the ECC to act on behalf of all participating entities while obtaining the necessary components, services, and agreements required for operating, maintaining and securing the NG9-1-1 System

If you have any questions you can contact Mike Clouse Executive Director at 314-717-6476 or Matt at          314-428-6801.                                                                        

 

Ameren License Tax Settlement

Cities with electric license taxes should have    received their license tax settlement payments from Ameren around the week of February 26. These amounts were explained in-depth in the notice of settlement sent to cities at the end of August 2017. Also, any tax protest payments were released, and those payments were counted in the total amount of the payment due for the period from April 1, 2017 to January 2018. Ameren also guaranteed in the settlement that the incremental increase to tax payments to all cities as a result of the settlement would at least equal $6.5 million over the next five years. Several cities allocated a portion of the settlement to the League, which is much appreciated.

 

March 22 Training Program

The next Municipal Officials Training Academy program is set for Thursday, March 22 from Noon to 1:15 p.m. The program is entitled “Cyber Threats, Solutions, and Legal Response for Our Cities.”  The program will discuss the issue of cyber security and best practices, among other things. Click HERE to register for webinar.  For a full description and registration please go to the League website at: https://member.stlmuni.org/.

 

100 YEAR ANNIVERSARY INSTALLATION DINNER

In recognition of the 100 Year Anniversary of the League, the format for the annual installation dinner will not include the Muni Awards.  The new officers will be installed, followed by a special guest and keynote speaker, whom we hope to announce in the coming weeks. 

Following the keynote speech, we will present the annual Buzz Westfall Award for Excellence in Local Govenment and a  special recognition to the six founding members of the League: Kirkwood, Webster Groves, Maplewood, Clayton, University City, and Ferguson.

More information and registration instruction will be sent out within the next few weeks.  We are anticipating a large turnout for the 100 year anniversary celebration, so please get your reservation in early.  Mark your calendar: May 24, 6:00 PM at the Renaissance Hotel at the airport.

 

Nominating Committee to Meet in April

The League’s Nominating Committee will meet in early April after the municipal elections.  The committee will make recommendations to the full membership on a slate of candidates for officers and board members for the 2018-2019 year.  There will be at least one vacancy on the Board to be filled.

The Board meets about nine times per year and is open to any elected official from a member municipality.  If you would like to be considered by the Committee, please send a letter to the League office by April 1 indicating your interest and outlining your qualifications, including service on committees and attendance at League meetings or other events.

The Committee will be chaired by Mayor Barry Glantz of Creve Coeur, Immediate Past President.  The recommended slate of candidates will be presented at the April meeting.  So, if you are interested in serving on the Board please let us know!

 

League Members Support St. Louis County’s “Work Ready Community” Initiative

Thanks in part to the more that 20 league members that participated, St. Louis County has announced that they have achieved ACT Certified Work Ready Community (CWRC) status.  States, counties and economic development agencies across the United States have adopted the ACT Work Ready Communities program as a means of providing employers evidence of a skilled workforce.

The CWRC approval process involved testing conducted by the American College Testing Organization. The ACT awards Work Ready status based on the number of test-takers who earn a National Career Readiness Certificate, and the number of      employers who officially recognize the certificate.

A diverse group of St. Louis County residents took the certification test, including high school students, college students, unemployed workers and workers participating in adult education programs. Of the individuals in St. Louis County who took the test, 9,790 earned a National Career Readiness   Certification, approximately three times the number required for community certification.

County officials and business leaders believe the CWRC will help to build a stronger economy by expanding local businesses and attracting new businesses to the region.  “This designation will provide St. Louis County with an important competitive advantage to attract high-tech, high-skill, and high-paying jobs right here in St. Louis County,” said Boeing Senior Manager of Global Engagement Jeff Sweet.

According to St. Louis County officials, the certification process took more than two years to complete. In order to maintain its CWRC status, St. Louis County must undergo recertification every two years.

 

IS YOUR COMMUNITY CHARGING THE CORRECT SEWER LATERAL FEE?

Municipalities in St. Louis County were first authorized to impose a fee to repair residential sewer lateral in 1995 when the legislature adopted HB 88.  The programs have been well received and supported by residents throughout the county.  Today, following voter approval, 75 municipalities and St. Louis County have sewer lateral repair programs.  The statute allows for the coverage of single family homes and condominiums with six or less units per building.   For the assessing of fees related to condominiums, the statute states;

Each condominium unit shall be responsible for its proportionate share of any fee charged pursuant to this chapter, and in addition, any condominium unit shall, if determined to be responsible for and served by its own individual lateral sewer line, be treated as an individual residence regardless of the number of units in the development. It shall be the responsibility of the condominium owner or condominium association who are of the opinion that they are not properly classified as provided in this section to notify the county office administering the program”.

The St. Louis County Assessor automatically assesses the full rate to condominiums, which have individual      addresses unless they are told differently by the city or property owner.  The issue is that most condominium properties have individual addresses, and are also serviced by a combined sewer lateral.  This means the property owners are paying more than they should.  It is also problematic because it is the property owner’s            responsibility to notify the Assessor’s office if they feel they are being charged the wrong rate.

Legislators are concerned that residents are unknowingly being overcharged.  They have indicated that if the cities don’t take the initiative to fix the problem ,they will do so through legislation.  One solution could be to simply educate your residents by sending a letter to all condominium owners explaining how the fee is assessed and their role in ensuring they are being charged the correct rate.  It would also help to designate a staff person to assist with the documenting, and processing any changes.   

 

City of Twin Oaks Home At Last

The Village of Twin Oaks was incorporated in May of 1938.  In November of 2016,  voters approved changing the Village to a 4th Class City.  In February, after working out of trustees’ homes and renting office space for almost 80 years, the City held their first meeting in a City owned building.  The new town hall is located at 1393 Big Bend, Twin Oaks Mo, 63021.

The 5,300 square foot town hall includes administrative offices and a multipurpose community room/Board of Aldermen chamber. The multipurpose room can be divided into large and small community meeting spaces. Mayor Russ Fortune said “The city plans to offer its use to nonprofit groups looking for a place to have meetings”. The area could even be used as a Red Cross shelter if needed, he said.  The cost of the project was $1.6 million.

 

AFFILIATE MEMBERSHIP SPOTLIGHT

Linda Goldstein specializes in innovative community engagement strategies, strategic communications and public policy.  Linda was the first woman mayor of the City of Clayton, MO, she spent more than fourteen years in public service and is known for her ability to build consensus and a collective vision in order to achieve bold and transformative community initiatives. In the private sector, she has more than twenty years experience as a senior level organizational leader and small business owner, and has been nationally recognized for best practices in the commercial construction industry.

Using her political and professional experiences Linda has developed programs aimed at Leadership Development, Organizational Planning and Strategic Communications with topics such as:

  • Stories from the Intersection of Business and Politics
  • Leading Change: Strategies for Successful Citizen Engagement
  • Taking Your Big Idea from Inspiration to Implementation
  • Leaders Leading Leaders

Linda lead  three Lunch and Learn seminars last year for our members, presented at the Missouri Municipal League conference and facilitated a self-evaluation program for the City of Sunset Hills Board of Aldermen.

Linda has an M.A. in Counseling Psychology from St. Louis University and a B.S. in Advertising & Public Relations from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, IL.  For more information visit their website at; http://lindagoldsteinconsulting.com/

 

Resolutions Filed in Both the House and Senate Opposing Statewide Vote on Local Issues

Two St. Louis area legislators have filed legislation opposing statewide vote on the restructuring of St. Louis City and County.  Sen. Gina Walsh, D-Bellefontaine Neighbors, sponsored SCR 46 in the Senate, and Rep. Shamed Dogan, R-Ballwin, filed  HCR 97 in the House.

Rep. Dogan said the issue should be handled by the residents who live in the city and county and not the determined by the rest of that state.  “It’s clear this is a local decision that should be kept at the local level in the hands of the people of St. Louis City and St. Louis County,” Dogan said. “With 57 of the 89 municipalities in St. Louis County already adopting resolutions opposing a statewide vote, it’s obvious the people believe this is a decision they should make.”

Senator Walsh agrees with Rep. Dogan and stated that the residents of both the City of St. Louis and St. Louis County should be able to decide whether or not there should be a merge.  “The citizens of St. Louis City and St. Louis County must have the right to determine their own destiny,” Walsh said. “This bipartisan resolution will protect these citizens from government overreach and protect all Missouri taxpayers from costly political games.”

 

Legislative Update

SB 553 (Dixon) – Repeals provisions stating that failure to appear procedures in moving traffic violation cases, which include driving license suspension, shall not apply to minor traffic violations. The terms “annual general operating revenue”, “minor traffic violation”, and “municipal ordinance violation”, as applied in provisions regarding the assessment of fines in minor traffic violation and municipal ordinance violation cases, are modified.  This act provides that a county or municipality will meet reporting compliance by filing a statement confirming that twenty percent or less of its general revenue comes from fines, bond forfeitures, and court costs in municipal court cases.  Criminal Jurisprudence Committee. Heard 1/29.  Substitute passed committee 2/22

HB 1510 (Cross) – Changes the laws regarding local ordinances so that no political subdivision may require interior inspections of private residences.  General Laws Committee.  Heard 2/13.  Substitute passed Committee 2/20.  Referred Rules Committee

HB 1991 (Rhoads) – Enacts the Uniform Small Wireless Facility Deployment Act.  Utilities Committee.  Heard 1/24.  Passed Committee 2/12.  Referred Rules Committee.  Heard 2/26.  Passed Rules Committee 2/27.  House Perfection Calendar

SB 837 (Rowden) – Establishes the Uniform Small Wireless Facility Deployment Act.  Commerce & Environment Committee.  Heard 2/7.  Passed Committee 2/14.   Senate Perfection Calendar

HB 2097 (Brattin) – Requires voter approval of municipal trash collection contracts.  Government Oversight Committee (chaired by the bill sponsor.).  Heard 2/27.

HB 2242 (Wiemann) – Requires municipalities, but not other political subdivisions, to submit quarterly to the State Treasurer a list of all municipal vendors and payments made to those vendors.  Local Government Committee.  Heard 2/7.

HB 2457 (Anderson) – Cities may not restrict residential lodging (Air B&B).  Local taxes shall be collected.  General Laws Committee.  Heard 2/27

HB 2518 (Haefner) – Dissolves the St. Louis County Boundary Commission in 2019.

SB 580 (Libla) – Allows legally required notice to be published on a website established and maintained by the Secretary of State, rather than in a newspaper.  Local Govt & Elections Committee.  Heard 2/27

 

Legislative Updates