Newsletter Issue: November 2016

Download the November 2016 Issue (PDF Version)

Upcoming Meetings

Membership Meeting
11/17/2016 - 6:30 PM
Des Peres Lodge
Legislative Reception
01/12/2017 - 5:30 PM
Sheraton Westport
Membership Meeting
01/26/2017 - 6:30 PM
St. Ann

November 17 Meeting at Lodge Des Peres

The next League will be held at 7:30 pm on Thursday, November 17 at the Lodge Des Peres, 1050 Des Peres Rd.  Map  (Directions:  from I-270 exit onto westbound Manchester Rd.  Take the first exit, which is Des Peres Rd.  At the bottom of the ramp turn right (south) passing under two bridges of Manchester Rd.  The Lodge will be the first building on the left.)

The meeting is being held on the 3rd Thursday due to the Thanksgiving holiday.

PLEASE NOTE THAT REFRESHMENTS WILL BE SERVED PRIOR TO THE MEETING AT 6:30 PM.

Program:  The Illinois portion of the St. Louis region continues to work on growth and development, complimenting efforts on the Missouri side.  New jobs are helping spur new housing to attract residents to the region.

Ronda Sauget, Executive Director of the Leadership Council of Southwest Illinois, will provide an update on her organization and how it helps to support regional progress.   

 

 

 

League Adopts Policy to Discuss City Re-Entry

At the October meeting, the membership adopted a policy to initiate discussions with officials from St. Louis City and County and other relevant parties about the possibility of the City re-entering the County as the 91st municipality.  While the motion that was approved does not expressly favor re-entry, it does indicate that this is among the ideas that should be studied to see how best the City and County can reverse some of the negative economic trends that have kept the region from reaching its potential.

The committee report was presented by Chairman Keith Krieg, Mayor of Frontenac, and committee members Cynthia Garnholz, Alderman, Clayton, and Ruth Springer, Mayor of Olivette.

The report notes that the multi-city structure of the County has served our residents well and should be preserved.  But unless significant steps are taken to improve the opportunity to create new jobs and attract new businesses to our metropolitan area, there will not be sufficient resources to sustain that form of government.

The committee will continue to meet with regional officials to further the discussions on what changes to the governmental structure can best serve the City and County and whether re-entry is a viable option.

 

September Meeting Synopsis

As noted on page 1, the membership adopted a policy to begin discussions on city re-entry into the County.  In addition, members approved the Report of the Legislative Affairs Committee, as presented by Chairman Scott Douglass, Mayor of Clarkson Valley.  The report includes the priorities for the year that the League will pursue for the 2017 session.  They are:  1) a public safety sales tax for St. Louis County government with changes to the distribution of the one cent tax; 2) revisions to the water lateral repair statute to allow for the replacement of lead water laterals when work is done on the connecting main; and 3) support for the creation of a Wifi commission to help St. Louis City and County in the development of higher speed wireless internet services.

Also approved were four position statements on November ballot issues.  The membership supported:

  • Amendment One, the continuation of the sales tax for state parks and soil conservation;
  • Amendment Two, campaign finance limits; and
  • Amendment Three, a cigarette tax increase for early childhood education.

Amendment Four, which would prohibit sales taxes on services, was opposed.

The speaker for the meeting was St Louis County Director of Elections Eric Fey who discussed a new program the Election Board is offering to help political subdivisions by processing election filing through that office.  Using the Election Board filing service could reduce filing errors and the need to go to court to resolve issues.

Municipalities and other political subdivisions would need to pass a resolution or ordinance to participate.  The Board will have a lottery for first day filers, similar to the Missouri Secretary of State.  If cities don’t utilize the Election Board, he still encouraged the use of a lottery at the municipal level to reduce confusion.  If cities do decide to pursue this program, the Election Board would need to be notified a few weeks before filing begins for the municipal elections.

We would like to thank Mayor Jim White and the officials and staff of the City of Maplewood for accommodating the large crowd and for providing a unique “Taste of Maplewood”.

 

November 18 Training Session on Election Laws

The next Municipal Officials Training Academy program is set for Friday, November 18 from Noon to 1:15 p.m.  The program is entitled Election Law 101.  The speaker is Municipal Attorney Kevin O’Keefe Garrett of the Curtis, Heinz, Garrett & O’Keefe law firm.  Topics will include:

  • Municipal Election Procedures;
  • Municipal Candidate Qualifications and Filing;
  • Handling Recounts and Election Contests; and
  • Best Practices.

Officials are invited to attend via Webinar or in person at Frontenac City Hall.  The session is designed for:

  • City Clerks;
  • City Administrators/Managers;
  • Elected Officials; and
  • Municipal Attorneys.

The cost is $10 per person unless the city has an annual subscription. Please make checks payable to and mail to the Municipal League of Metro St. Louis.  Registration by Wednesday, November 16 is encouraged to ensure that all materials are emailed to registrants prior to the Webinar. Click HERE to register.

 

 

 

Park Commission Awards Round 17 Grants

The Municipal Park Grant Commission recently announced the awarding of $6.9 million for park and recreation improvements during the Round 17 grant cycle to the following 20 municipalities:

Breckenridge Hills – Sims Park, $315,000

Clayton – Shaw Park, $419,880

Crestwood – Whitecliff Park, $420,000

Creve Coeur – Golf Course, $455,150

Dellwood – Recreation Center, $332,753

Eureka – Flat Creek Trail, $420,000

Ferguson – January Wabash Park, $438,853

Florissant – Manion Park, $525,000

Hazelwood – Howdershell Park, $450,614

Maplewood – Skateboard Park, $143,250

Oakland – Minturn Lane Park, $264,700

Overland – Mort Jacobs Park, $386,700

Pacific –  Jensen’s Point Park, $65,241

Rock Hill – Oakhaven Park, $314,827

St. Ann – Tiemeyer Park, $420,000

Shrewsbury – Wehner Park, $355,105

Sunset Hills – Kitun Park, $351,111

Town & Country – Mason Road Linear Park, $222,408

Valley Park – Levee Recreation Area, $367.000

Vinita Park – City Park, $231.750

Since 2001 and including this round, over 300 municipal grants have been approved totaling over $55 million.  The commission was created in 2000 to award grants to municipalities in St. Louis County after voters approved a 1/10 cent sales tax., which was increased by a 3/16 cent sales tax on 2013.

The commission will next meet on February 2 and could award planning grants that have been submitted.  If your city is planning to submit a planning grant application for consideration, please have them to the Municipal League office by Monday, January 23.  The applications can be found on the Park Commission website:   http://www.muniparkgrants.org/applications.html

 

TracFone Settlement Provides Some Funds for Cities

The St. Louis County Circuit Court recently approved a preliminary class settlement with TracFone Wireless whereby the company agreed to pay the 355 class members $9.55 million in past (back) taxes and an estimated $.72 million in accrued taxes between now and final approval by the Court, for a total of $10.27 million statewide.  As in previous telephone tax settlements, class members may assign a portion of their past (back) tax payment to the Missouri Municipal League or the Municipal League of Metro St. Louis (if the class member is located within St. Louis or St. Louis County). This time, though, there is no cap on the percentage or dollar amount, so the Leagues may suggest an amount to their members. (Previous settlements had a cap of 5%.)

For copies of the charts showing settlement amounts, please contact the League office.

 

League Board Adopts Updated Settlement Advocacy Fund Policy

In October, the League Board adopted a revised policy regarding the use of settlement funds that members had contributed following the successful suits against telcom companies.

The use of advocacy funds is limited to expanded lobbying initiatives, and expenses related to legal action and legislative proposals limiting local control and impacting municipal revenue sources.

The Executive Board established certain limitations and requirements for the use of the Advocacy Funds:

  • advocacy funds cannot be used for litigation between member municipalities.
  • the Executive Board cannot allocate more than 10% of the advocacy fund balance in any one fiscal year
  • all requests for League support and/or use of advocacy funds must be submitted in writing using an outline created by the League.

The policy establishes a 5-member Advocacy Fund Review Committee (AFRC).  which  will evaluate all request and make a recommendation to the Executive Board.  The President will appoint members to the AFRC on an as- needed basis.

The Executive Board will review the AFRC’s recommendation and using a closed, written ballot vote on the recommendation.

 

Maplewood Wins EPA Green Power Community Award

The City of Maplewood has been selected as the 2016 EPA Green Power Community of the Year by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). EPA Green Power Communities are cities, counties or communities in which the local government, businesses and residents collectively support renewable energy in amounts that meet or exceed EPA’s Green Power Community purchase requirements. Renewable energy is electricity that is generated from environmentally preferable renewable resources, such as wind, solar, geothermal, biogas, eligible biomass, and low-impact hydro. Using green power accelerates the development of new renewable energy capacity nationwide and helps to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

In May 2015, the Maplewood City Council announced a proclamation to launch an EPA Green Power Community Challenge to match at least three percent of its citywide energy consumption with renewable energy. Maplewood businesses and residents were encouraged to support renewable energy by either enrolling in the Ameren Missouri Pure Power® program (or any other REC provider) or installing solar panels through a solar provider.

Instead of taking the full year – what the EPA Green Power Community Challenge allows – Maplewood exceeded its original goal in only a few months. By the end of the challenge, the city matched more than five percent of its energy usage with renewable energy. That’s an environmental impact equivalent to reducing the city’s carbon footprint by more than 13 million pounds of carbon dioxide each year or taking 1,278 cars off the road every year. Even more, Maplewood achieved this Green Power Community distinction faster than any other Missouri city!

Maplewood’s Green Power Community Challenge represents a joint effort with the city’s Sustainability Commission, Ameren Missouri Pure Power, and St. Louis-based Microgrid Energy to encourage local businesses and homeowners to make a commitment to green power. Maplewood is the fourth Missouri city to earn the EPA Green Power Community distinction.