Newsletter Issue: May 2018

Download the May 2018 Issue (PDF Version)

Upcoming Meetings

Installation and 100th Anniversary Dinner May 24

The Municipal League of Metro St. Louis was founded in July 1918 by representatives of the Cities of Clayton, Ferguson, Kirkwood, Maplewood, University City and Webster Groves. We hope you will be able to attend on May 24 as we kickoff a yearlong  commemoration with our Installation of Officers Dinner and Awards. 

The Buzz Westfall Award for Excellence in Local Government will be  presented to Charlie Dooley, who is the former County Executive, Mayor of Northwoods and League President. We are also pleased to  announce that Senator Gina Walsh will receive the Friend of Local   Government Award. Clarence Anthony, the Executive   Director of the National League of Cities, will be our   keynote speaker.

Please join us at the Renaissance Hotel in Berkeley, Penthouse Ballroom overlooking St. Louis Lambert Airport. The Social Hour will start at 6:00 pm (cash bar), with Dinner at 7:00 and the awards and keynote presentation to follow.

Contributions from League associate members and supporters have allowed us to set   tickets prices at $40 per person.  We ask that you make your reservations  by Friday, May 18. We cannot accept cancellations after that date.

The evening promises to be entertaining, with plenty of opportunities to visit with your  local government colleagues, welcome the League’s new leadership team, and hear from Mr. Anthony.

 

Local Government Summer Institute

The Municipal League of Metro St. Louis and East-West Gateway Council of Governments are 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.

For details on the three half-day seminars being offered this year and registration form go to; http://member.stlmuni.org/summer-institute.  Registration is open to municipal staff and elected officials in Missouri and Illinois. For more information or questions, contact Frank Johnson at frank.johnson@ewgateway.org 314-421-4220, or Pat Kelly at pkelly@stlmuni.org or 314-726-4748.

 

Legislative Bills of Interest

  • HB 1991 (Rhoads) – Enacts the Uniform Small Wireless Facility Deployment Act. Senate Informal 3rd Reading Calendar 5/7
  • SB 592 (Hegeman) – Amended election rules to Increases population limit to 2000 for municipalities to forgo elections if the number of candidates equals the number of seats to be filled.  Truly Agreed and Finally Passed.
  • SB 553 (Dixon) – Allows municipal judges to order community service, issue a fine or place a hold on their licenses for defendants failing to appear for a court date. Failed on 3rd Reading 5/1
  • SB 769 (Cunningham) – Modifies several provisions relating to financial transactions by public entities. House 3rd Reading Calendar.
  • HB 1729 (Justus) – Repeals prevailing wage law. Senate Informal 3rd Reading Calendar

The session will end at 6:00 pm on Friday, May 18.

***Legislators continue to attach TIF changes to other bills.

***The Failure to Appear language from Senator Dixon’s bill is being added to other bills that are moving for passage.

 

MSD Proposes Rate Hike

MSD is submitting a proposal to the Rate            Commission for a Stormwater Capital Rate that will generate $30 million annually to address   localized flooding and erosion problems that are currently unfunded. The charge will be based upon the amount of impervious surface area — such as concrete, blacktop, the   footprint of the home (surfaces that do not absorb rainwater) — each property has within MSD’s service area.

The proposed rate was determined based on the recommended   Stormwater Capital Improvement Program divided by the amount of impervious surface within MDS’s service area. For the average       single-family homeowner the annual charge will be $27 per year or $2.25 per month. All public and private property within MSD’s service area, including properties owned by governmental or  nonprofit entities and those not receiving MSD wastewater      services, would be subject to the Stormwater Capital Rate, if    approved.

Levee Districts currently in contractual agreements with MSD would be exempt, as these entities already provide stormwater services for their residents.  All creeks and streams would remain privately owned; local municipalities would retain floodplain management responsibilities.

MSD has identified approximately 500 stormwater issues throughout its service area that are categorized as flooding and erosion. At a projected price tag of $562M, the proposed funding would address currently identified localized flooding and erosion issues in          approximately 30 years. If approved, the Stormwater Capital Rate would fund property buyouts, rainscaping, natural creek bank stabilization, the installation of stormwater  drainage systems, and similar types of stormwater capital improvements. The Stormwater Capital Improvement Program is not a solution for large-scale flooding that our area has historically seen along major rivers, such as the recent flooding of the Meramec River in 2015 and 2017.

 

City Energy Project

According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, government agencies spend more than $10 billion a year on energy to provide public services and meet constituent needs. While local governments struggle with tightening budgets, 30% of the energy used to run a typical building – including government buildings – is wasted by inefficiency.

A number of cities across the country, including St. Louis and Kansas City, have participated in the City Energy Project, taking advantage of EPA’s ENERGY STAR program to save energy, lower utility bills, free up additional funds for public services, and demonstrate their environmental leadership.

Energy benchmarking is the first step toward saving energy and money through energy conservation.  ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager is a free and secure online tool that tracks energy and water consumption, as well as the associated greenhouse gas emissions.  Any building can use ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager to understand their energy and water use, and according to their data, buildings that  benchmark for 3 years see an average 7% reduction in energy use.

Many of the changes to our buildings that can save energy are low or no cost. Changing the settings on your thermostat, sealing those cracks around your doors, changing out your incandescent or fluorescent light bulbs for LEDs – small changes can make a big difference. And financial incentives are available from both Ameren Missouri and Spire (formerly Laclede Gas) for projects from big to small.

For more information check out the ICMA case study highlighting Kansas City’s work to improve the energy efficiency of their municipal buildings, drive savings in their buildings, and increase their investment in services for their community. Or take a look at the City of St. Louis’ Energy Benchmarking initiative website.

The U.S. Green Building Council- Missouri Gateway Chapter has volunteers available to provide assistance and providing information about current energy efficiency incentives.  This article was submitted by affiliate member Linda Goldstein.

 

April Meeting Synopsis

At the April 26 meeting the membership elected the following new officers and Board members for 2018-19;             President – Mayor Norm McCourt, Black Jack; Vice President – Councilmember Ruth Springer, Olivette; Finance Chairman – Mayor James Knowles, Ferguson; Board Members, Two Year Term – Alderwoman Darlene Bell, Moline Acres; Mayor Edward Mahan, Rock Hill;  Alderwoman Cara Spencer, St. Louis Board Member and One Year Term – Alderwoman Michelle Harris, Clayton.

The membership also approved a bylaws amendment to require municipalities with police departments to adopt police standards adopted by the League in November 2017 in order to maintain League affiliation.

The speaker was Jim Wild, Executive Director of the East-West Gateway Council of Governments.  Mr. Wild indicated that Gateway is 52 years old and serves as the Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) for the St. Louis region.  Their main function is to oversee the distribution of federal funds, mainly for transportation projects.  Gateway staff has completed a required long range transportation plan called Connected 2045 which sets regional transportation investment priorities.  Also required is an annual update to the three year Transportation Improvement Program (TIP). The current TIP has $2.3 billion in projects listed, which is comprised of funds for surface transportation project (STP), congestion mitigation and air quality (CMAQ) and enhancements.  Solicitations for the 2019-2022 TIP are currently underway.  $40 million is available to the region with the federal government providing 80% of the project costs.  Gateway is also soliciting for the Great Streets program which provides up to $400,000 for streetscape improvements.

Other programs handled by Gateway staff include distribution of federal Homeland Security funds.  They also have staff conducting regional planning and research.  The Research Department completes the Where We Stand comparison of St. Louis to the 50 largest regions in the country on a variety of statistics.

Mr. Wild announced that the Gateway Board would be holding a summit on May 30 to discuss regional issues such as education/workforce development; economic development; safety/crime; and a common voice in the legislature.  The public is invited to attend

Missouri Jobs Report

Missouri’s unemployment rate edged down to 3.6% in March, while payroll employment grew by 3,100 jobs. Unemployment is down a tenth of a point from February. The last time the rate was lower than 3.6% was July 2000. 

 By comparison, the U.S. unemployment rate was 4.1% in March, coming in higher than Missouri’s unemployment rate for the 35th straight month. The March gain in employment of 3,100 pushed        Missouri’s nonfarm payroll employment up to 2,894,200 jobs. 

 The largest increases were in construction (+1,400) and professional,       scientific and technical services (+1,000). Smaller gains were spread across a number of other industries. The main exception to the growth trend was in education and health services, where employment was down by 1,200. 

 Over the past 12 months Missouri added 28,500 jobs, a gain of 1.0%. The largest gains in professional, scientific, and technical services (+9,100);    administrative, support, and waste management services (+8,000); health care and social assistance (+6,000); and durable goods manufacturing (+5,000).

 

St. Louis Region's Record-Setting Industrial Real Estate Market

The past two years have been a period of remarkable growth in St. Louis region’s industrial sector, as construction and leasing activity rose to levels that garnered local, regional and national attention. The success has been mirrored on the sales side too, with Colliers International reporting that, in 2017, approximately 11.6 million square feet of industrial space traded hands, up from 7.4 million in 2016. That represented the highest level of regional sales activity in a decade as over $300 million in assets were acquired by investors new to our region who have come to see St. Louis as a stable, productive market that doesn’t have the highs and lows of the coastal markets.  Notable tax abatements and other incentives are certainly a draw for developers, manufacturers and logistics industry professionals choosing St. Louis, as are abundant available pre-approved industrial sites, but three key factors have emerged as the core driving forces behind the region’s flourishing industrial market; availability of space and speed of delivery; a job-ready workforce and exceptional freight assets.  For more information go to; Record-Setting Industrial Real Estate Market