Newsletter Issue: May 2019

Download the May 2019 Issue (PDF Version)

Upcoming Meetings

Muni Awards & Installation Dinner
05/23/2019 - 6:00 PM
Renaissance Hotel in Berkeley

Muni Awards & Installation Dinner

We hope that you will join your fellow officials at the Municipal League’s 7th Annual Muni” Awards Ceremony and Installation of Officers on Thursday, May 23 at the Renaissance Hotel in Berkeley.

 The cost is $35 per person. The complimentary social hour will begin at 6:00 pm with the dinner at 7:00 pm, followed by the MUNI awards.

The Muni Awards were introduced in 2012 and created a fun and exciting event as we announce award winners in a variety of  categories highlighting many of the innovative and collaborative efforts of our member municipalities. 

We will also install the following new officers and board members:

PresidentMayor James Knowles, III,  Ferguson

Vice PresidentCouncilmember Ruth Springer, Olivette

Finance ChairmanMayor Terry Briggs, Bridgeton

New Board Member Councilmember Tim Woerther, Wildwood

Large group reservations are encouraged through your municipal clerk, while individual or small groups can contact the League Office directly.

 This is a wonderful opportunity to recognize these unique programs that serve our citizens and can be replicated in many of our municipalities.

Thanks to our associate members for their contributions to help defray the costs.  

 

Better Together Drops Petition

On May 6, Better Together formally pulled its latest plan for governmental reorganization of St. Louis City and County. Two of the main reasons cited were public outcry over a statewide vote and the resignation of County Executive Stenger, a leading plan proponent. 

Members of the public who attended local meetings to discuss the plan continued to voice their displeasure at the loss of local   services and the process of a giant, new government with little         opportunity for public input. The new metropolitan council was to consist of 33 members, roughly equal in size to a Missouri House district.  Citizen services would suffer under this arrangement.

The League continues to support the effort to  establish a Board of Freeholders to discuss and        consider a governmental reorganization plan. If sufficient signatures are gathered, a 19-member board would be appointed to meet for one year with the goal of developing such a plan. Unlike the Better Together effort, the Freeholder process would be open to the public to offer ideas and observations on their  deliberation. If a plan is developed, it would be submitted for approval by the voters of the City and   County with a majority requirement in each jurisdiction required for approval.

 

Legislative Update

The legislative session ends at 6:00 pm on May 17.  There are several bills of municipal interest that may be debated for the deadline.

HJR 54 (Plocher) – is a constitutional amendment requiring ballots to merge or dissolve cities or counties only be approved if those cities or counties approve the ballot. It passed the House by a vote of 143-10 on May 2.  The resolution has been assigned to the Progress and Development Committee and will be heard on May 8.  The President Pro-Tem of the Senate, Senator Dave Schatz, has indicated that he would like to see this bill debated in the Senate.  Thanks go to Rep. Plocher and the many Representatives from St. Louis County who worked hard to get the bill through the House and who spoke on the floor about its impact.

 

HB 762 (Wieman) – establishes the “Missouri Municipal Government Expenditure Database,” to be maintained by the Office of Administration. For each fiscal year beginning on or after January 1, 2022, the database must include extensive information about a given municipality’s expenditures and the vendors to whom payments were made. The data base must be accessible by the public without charge and have multiple ways to search and filter the information. Municipalities with websites must provide a link to the database.  A municipality must provide the information to the Office of Administration on a biannual basis or it will be fined $100 per day after 30 days.  During the executive session this week, the bill was amended to make this a voluntary process for cities.  The penalties were removed and language was added that requires the state to pay for all associated expenses incurred by the cities.  Language was also added that would allow 5% of the registered    voters from the last election in a city to bring a petition forcing a city to put their financial information on the state portal.  During floor debate, Representative Shane Roden (R-Cedar Hill) amended the bill requiring mandatory reporting and     included a monetary fine for each day a   report is not made public. Representative Phil Christofanelli (R-St. Peters) further amended the bill moving the authorizing ballot language for the bill from the November election, to the April  election.  It has passed the House and is awaiting      debate in the Senate.  The League opposes this bill unless it is made voluntary and applicable to all political subdivisions.

 

SB 108 (Koenig) –  House Committee substitute modifies the definitions of “blighted area” and “conservation area”, and creates new definitions for “flood plain infrastructure projects”, “port infrastructure projects”, “retail area”, and “retail infrastructure projects”.  This act  also provides that retail areas, as defined in the act, shall not receive tax increment financing unless such financing is exclusively utilized to fund retail infrastructure projects, as defined in the act, or unless such area is a blighted or conservation area.  The bill has passed the Senate and will likely be debated in the House.

 

HB 427 (Helms) – 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.  This bill repeals a provision prohibiting a municipal judge from serving as a municipal judge in more than five municipalities.  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.  At press time the bill was on the House 3rd Reading Calendar.

 

St. Louis Community Ice Center

Opening in September 2019, Maryland Heights will be home to The St. Louis Community Ice Center. The St. Louis Community Ice Center will be a place where kids and adults come to learn and           participate in ice sports. With 275,000 square feet of ground floor and mezzanine space containing 4 ice sheets (including an outdoor rink), it will be the first facility in which all levels of hockey share training/ice facilities. The Ice Center will have a shared training center that provides medical, taping, pre– and post– therapy   injury rooms and weight training. There will also be a skills training facility with synthetic ice for athletes to work on their shooting, skating or goaltending. It will also include spaces for public skating, training and special events for athletes of all abilities. In addition, The Ice Center leads a regional movement to engage more youth in skating and ice sports. The Ice Center will provide support and resources for youth as they foster discipline,  leadership and team skills. 

There will also be an event center with 2500 seats to support local university and other ice sports programs.

The covered outdoor rink provides space for concerts, festivals, markets and other events during warmer months with a capacity for over 4,000 people.

The Ice Center will drive positive   economic impact as it will be a destination for local, national and international sporting events. The regional economy will grow through a significant boost in          expenditures on hotel stays, restaurant meals, and entertainment offerings. With over one million visitors, The Ice Center will drive over 16,000 hotel nights, resulting in an estimated $20M+ annual economic impact.

The volunteer-led St. Louis Legacy Ice Foundation is working with state and local governments, local ice sports organizations, and skating enthusiasts to create The Ice Center. The $78.2M           development will be successfully funded by sources including:

  • State and local government, including the City of Maryland Heights, St. Louis County, and the State of Missouri
  • The St. Louis Blues and Blues For Kids Foundation
  • Corporate, foundation, and individual donors, of both financial resources and in-kind materials, goods and services
  • Youth ice sport networks (parents, athletes and coaches) across the region, including those at the collegiate, high school, and younger levels. 

For more information, go to:

http://www.legacyice.org/

 

April Meeting Synopsis

At the April 25 meeting the membership heard a presentation from Jennifer Vuitel of the East-West Gateway Council of Governments, who had been invited to   update League members on the St. Louis   Regional Hazard Mitigation Plan.  She   noted that plan tries to alleviate the impacts of natural, not man-made, hazards such as floods, fires, and earthquakes.  There is a requirement that the plan be  updated every five years and she is working with the Missouri counties in the Gateway region.

Ms. Vuitel indicated that plan must be adopted by every local government that wishes to remain eligible for federal pre-disaster mitigation funds.  She said that there is a working group involving the County emergency operations managers, flood plain administrators, and local officials who are helping develop the plan. 

The plan identifies types of mitigation and contains recommends specific mitigation activities, rather that possible actions.  Eligible projects include buyouts, generators, building retrofits and tornado safe rooms, among other items.

She asked that municipalities complete a questionnaire on Gateway’s website and adopt the resolution in the next few months.  Workshops will also be held to explain the process to local officials.  The regional timetable is to have resolutions adopted between September and December, 2019.  A draft report will be sent to the State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA) in January 2020.  The final document to SEMA will be completed by May 2020.  She noted that 10% of the regional partners (including cities) must adopt the resolution before the plan can be submitted.  For more information see https://www.ewgateway.org/community-planning/hazard-mitigation/.

In addition to electing new officers and board members for the 2019-20 year, the membership approved a motion to create a committee to develop League recommendations for possible changes to the governmental structure of the City and County for presentation to the Board of Freeholders.  Any recommendations would be presented to the membership for approval or modification.

We would like to thank President Norm McCourt and the officials and employees of the City of Black Jack for their warm welcome as the hosts of the meeting.

 

St. Louis County Executive

Sam Page was sworn in as the new County Executive on April 29, 2019.

From 2003-2008, Dr. Page represented part of St. Louis County in the Missouri House of Representatives.   Dr. Page was elected to the St. Louis County Council in August 2014 to represent the residents of the 2nd Council District. Dr. Page was re-elected in 2016.

Dr. Page is currently an attending   physician at Mercy Hospital in St. Louis and an Adjunct Assistant Professor of Anesthesiology at St. Louis University Medical School.

Dr. Page lives in Creve Coeur with his wife, Dr. Jennifer Page, and their three children who attend the local public schools.

 

East-West Gateway Seeking Input from Local Governments on Recent Natural Disasters

East-West Gateway is working with the city of St. Louis and the Missouri counties of St. Charles, Franklin, Jefferson and St. Louis to revise and update the St. Louis Regional Hazard Mitigation Plan for the next five years, 2020-2025. The Plan will present information about natural disasters, levels of risk, and strategies for   local governments and school districts to take to reduce the adverse effects of natural hazards, such as tornadoes or floods.

Your input is an important part of this process. If you are a member of a local government jurisdiction, please complete our short online questionnaire at www.surveymonkey.com/r/lghazardsurvey to provide information on recent natural disasters in your community and the steps you are taking to reduce risks to individuals and property.

Federal funding for pre-natural disaster mitigation activities is only available to local jurisdictions that have formally adopted the St. Louis Regional Hazard Mitigation Plan by resolution. For more information on the plan and the update process, including times and dates for upcoming local government workshops, visit www.ewgateway.org/hazardupdate.

 

Local Government Summer Institute

Now in its second year, the Local Government Summer Institute offers targeted, in-depth professional development on a rotating set of topics for elected officials and municipal staff. The program is a partnership between the Municipal League of Metro St. Louis and East-West Gateway Council of Governments. Topics for this year are:

Preparing Your Community for Disaster — Friday, June 14

  • Learn what you can do as an elected official or local government professional to better equip your community to prepare for, respond to and recover from natural disasters and other incidents.

Attracting the Next Generation of Local Government Talent — Friday, July 12

  • This seminar will feature a panel discussion and presentations on what cities can do to attract a new generation of professionals who can bring innovative approaches to the challenges facing our communities today.

Local Government 101 — Friday, August 9

  • Great for newly elected officials or veterans in need of a refresher, this seminar will provide in-depth information and discussion on complying with sunshine law provisions and running effective council or board meetings.

Each workshop will run from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 a.m. at Maryland Heights City Hall. Online registration is now open at www.member.stlmuni.org/summer-institute. 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.

 

24:1 Initiative

The 24:1 Initiative was featured in the May Issue of Missouri Conservationist.  The 24:1 Initiative was featured for their conservation efforts of maintaining healthy urban trees. Over the past two years, the 24:1 municipalities have conducted tree plantings, pruned city trees and removed hazardous trees. Research has shown that having healthy urban trees in your environment creates a sense of well-being.

The 24:1 Initiative is a community development effort created by Beyond Housing to address challenges within the 24 municipalities in the Normandy School District in North St. Louis County. The Initiative addresses areas that are crucial to community success: education, housing, health, job training and access, economic development, and personal finance.

 

Board of Freeholders- Initiative Petitions

We are 2/3 to our goal signature count. You are encouraged to continue collecting signatures through the middle of June. After you get your signature pages notarized, you may drop them off  or mail them to our office. It is up to each elected official to do your part collecting signatures for the board of freeholds process.  The Board of Freeholders will allow for a transparent, public forum for your constituents to express their opinions on the governmental structure by which they want to live.