Newsletter Issue: February 2016

Download the February 2016 Issue (PDF Version)

Upcoming Meetings

Membership
02/25/2016 - 7:30 PM
Ellisville Community Center
Membership
03/24/2016 - 7:30 PM
Black Jack City Hall
Newly Elected Officials
04/27/2016 - 4:30 PM
Maryland Heights
Membership
04/28/2016 - 7:30 PM
Overland - Wild Acres Park

February 25 Meeting at Ellisville Rec Center

The next League meeting will be held at 7:30 pm on Thursday, February 25 at the Ellisville Recreation Center in Bluebird Park, 225 Kiefer Creek Rd.  This is about 1/2 mile south of the intersection of Manchester Road and Clarkson/Kiefer Creek Roads.  Map

Program:  St. Louis County’s new Emergency Operation Center is now open and helped coordinate emergency responses to the recent floods.  The center along with new communications equipment for public safety agencies were funded by a sales tax approved by voters in 2009.  It has allowed for the development of one of the most up-to-date systems in the Country.

St. Ann City Administrator Matt Conley represents the League on the Emergency Communications Commission.  He will provide an update on the new facilities and equipment.

On the agenda will be the consideration of a bylaws amendment to change the name of the organization to “Municipal League of Metro St. Louis”.  This was presented for discussion at the January meeting and will be voted on in February.

 

February 25 Training Program on Ethics

The Municipal Officials Training Academy is offering a webinar with an in-person attendance option concerning Governmental Ethics on February 25, 2016 from 12:00 – 1:15 p.m.  The seminar, for municipal officials and employees, will cover how to identify and address potential conflicts of interest that may arise in the operation of local governments and municipal duties.  This seminar is designed for City Administrators/Managers, Elected Officials, City Clerks, Municipal Attorneys, and Municipal Staff. Attendees will be provided a copy of the PowerPoint presentation and various other handouts. The seminar is $10 per person per seminar or the City may purchase the Tuition Option which grants the entire City access to all 2016 seminars.

To register to view the seminar online, please Click Here. To register for in-person attendance (limited to 30 persons) at Frontenac City Hall, 10555 Clayton Road, email Steve Ables at staff@stlmuni.org.         Whether registering online or in person, payment for attendance should be submitted to the  St. Louis County Municipal League, 1034 S. Brentwood Blvd., Suite 410, Richmond Heights, MO 63117.  For any questions concerning payment or registration, please contact the League staff

For content and certification questions contact Erin Seele, Academy Director/Moderator, at erin@municipalfirm.com.

 

January Meeting Synopsis

At the January meeting, the membership adopted two policy statements – one related to sales tax (see article below) and one to oppose legislation to eliminate the earnings tax in St. Louis City.  In addition, information was presented on a proposed organization name change to the “Municipal League of Metro St. Louis”.  This bylaws change will be on the agenda for consideration at the February meeting.

There were two speakers at the meeting.  John Brancaglione, Vice President at PGAV Planners, had been invited to discuss municipal master plans.  Mr. Brancaglione indicated that municipal planning and zoning authority is found in Chapter 89 of the Missouri Statutes.  To avail itself of this authority, a municipality is required to create a planning and zoning commission to create a master plan to guide existing land use and future development.  There is a public hearing required before the plan can be adopted by the commission.  Approval by the governing body is not required but is recommended.  Future zoning should comply with the plan.

The second speaker was Rob Gorden of Arborjet, a company that has developed a treatment program to combat the Emerald Ash Borer, which is destroying ash trees in the US.  He indicated that most trees can be treated on a three year cycle if they are relatively healthy.  Treatment of trees is generally cheaper than removing them, unless they cannot be saved.  In addition, the time for new trees to be planted and grow to mature status is lengthy.  If trees are removed it can lower property values, contribute to stormwater runoff and increase summer time heat.

We appreciate the warm welcome from Brentwood officials and particularly their assistance handling the large crowd.  The renovated recreation center is a wonderful amenity for the City.

 

 

 

 

League Adopts New Sales Tax Proposal to Increase Muni/County Revenue

As noted above, the membership overwhelmingly approved a new sales tax proposal that would provide significant revenue increases to all municipalities and St. Louis County.  The main provisions of the proposal are:

  • Authorize St. Louis County to levy a countywide 1/4 cent public safety sales tax. This would yiled approximately $42 million.
  • St. Louis County would cease to be a part of the sales tax pool, giving up $12.5 million
  • The $12.5 million would be distributed on a population basis to all municipalities, increasing revenue by about $18 per capita.
  • The annexation adjustment paid by municipalities to St. Louis County for the one cent and 1/4 cent sales taxes would end. Municipalities would receive varying amounts totaling about $2.6 million.
  • The sharing of the 1/4 cent sales tax would end. “A” cities would keep all 1/4 cent revenue generated.  “B” cities would lose about $1million in total.
  • There would be a requirement for St. Louis County to provide, at the request of municipal police departments and at no cost to municipalities, “Specialized Police Services” and support, including, but not limited to, tactical operations, crime lab, air support, etc.
  • There would also be a requirement that St. Louis County appropriate $1 million annually from the public safety sales tax revenue to a Municipal Police Department Fund account to be administered by the St. Louis County Board of Police Commissioners. These funds would be used to  reimburse municipal police departments for psychological testing and background check expenses for police department personnel and provide up to $1,000 per year / per municipal officer for training and continuing education.

In summary, total municipal sales tax revenue increase $15.9M, or about 12.5%.  St. Louis County public safety sales tax revenue would increase by $25.8 million with the requirement to provide specialized police services.

This is a major policy initiative for the League.  Staff is working to draft bill language and secure a sponsor.  It will require a strong effort from members to lobby legislators to let them know the importance of this legislation and the overwhelming support of League members.

 

Legislative Convenes - Numerous Local Government Bills Introduced

The Missouri Legislature is continuing with hearings, although a few priorities are moving quicker (See SB 572 below).  Municipal officials can receive the newsletter and regular updates by email.  Send us your email address if you are interested.

(S) support; (O) Oppose (NP) No position

SB 572 (Schmitt) – Has several provisions relating to court fines:

  • SB 572 treats nuisance violations the same as traffic violations in SB5; this greatly impedes a community’s ability to hold nuisance violators responsible;
  • Lowers from $300 to $200 the maximum allowable fine for traffic and municipal ordinance violations for abatement of debris on property and, weeds and trash violations;
  • Expands to include nuisance violations in the percentage cap on revenues as defined in SB 5;
  • Lowers the percentage vote on disincorporation from sixty percent to a simple majority.

SB 572 has passed the Senate and will be considered in the House.  Contact Representatives to urge opposition. (O

SB 623 (Libla) – Raises gas tax by 1.5 cents and diesel tax by 3.5 cents.  Transportation Committee.  Heard 1/13.  Passed Committee 1/20.  Senate Perfection Calendar. (S)

HB 1434 (Koening) and HB 1600 (Shaul) – If TIF commission in St.  Louis area rejects a proposal but the city approves it, economic activity taxes and payments in lieu of taxes cannot exceed the redevelopment project costs for demolition of buildings and the clearing and grading of land.  Both were heard in the Ways & Means Committee on 2/10.  (O)

SB 788 (Schatz) – In St. Louis County, establishes a base year 2014 one cent sales tax and if future years are higher, pool cities would keep 50% of the amount generated over the base year generated amount.  Similar bills are HB 1561 (Leara) and HB 1854 (Allen).  HB 1561 was heard in the Local Government Committee on 2/9.  (O)

HB 2299 (Burns)  – Authorizes 1/2 cent sales tax in St. Louis County for public safety to be voted on and collected in the unincorporated area.  Heard in the Local Government Committee on 2/16.  The Senate version is SB  834 (Sifton). (NP)

SJR 25 (Emery) – Constitutional amendment to eliminate income taxes and replace them with an expanded sales and use tax and creates a property tax relief credit.  Ways & Means Committee.  (O)

HB 1495 (Walton Gray) – Requires newly elected municipal officials to receive 16  hours of training, including leadership skills.  (NP)

HB 1686 (Burns) – Allows municipal disincorporation in St. Louis County with petition of 25% of voters and majority election.  Heard in Local Government Committee 2/9 (O)

HB 1800 (Pace) – Increases percent of court revenue for cities in St. Louis County to 20% from 12.5%.(S)

HB 1993 (Cornejo) – Several modifications to Sunshine Law including posting meetings 48 hours in advance.  Criminal Proceedings Committee.  (O)

HB 2111 (Egleston) – Increase population limit from 1000 to 2000 for cities eliminate elections when the number of candidates equals the number of seats to be filled.  Elections Committee.  Heard 1/26.  Passed Committee 2/2.  Select Committee on Local Government.  Passed Committee 2/11. (S)

HB 2409 (Curtis) – Consolidates all school districts in St. Louis County by 2019, subject to statewide vote.. (NP)

HB 2410 (Curtis) – Requires all fire departments and districts in St. Louis County to consolidate if approved by a countywide vote.  Does not set a date for election. (O)

SJR 25 (Emery) -Constitutional amendment to eliminate income taxes and replace them with an expanded sales and use tax and creates a property tax relief credit.  Ways & Means Committee. (O)

HJR 83 (Cross) – Constitutional amendment to eliminate personal property taxes. (O)

HB 1634 (Alferman) – in 4th class cities, mayor counts in determining a quorum and may vote to break a tie if half of members are in favor of the question.  Local Government Committee.  Heard 1/19.  Passed Committee 1/26.  Select Committee on Local Government (NP)

There are also dozens of bills related to police procedures and several proposing transportation funding increases.  We will track them and report on the progress of those bills that are moving.

 

Vehicle Licensing Fee Election Update Auto Ta

38 municipalities and St. Louis County have placed on the April ballot the question of retaining the out-of-state vehicle licensing fee.  The League will be working with the County and these municipalities to help develop a consistent message to help voters understand the issue.  Florissant Mayor Tom Schneider is leading the effort.  He has met with representatives of the auto dealers, who are also supporters of this initiative.  34 of the municipalities and the County have labeled the question Proposition B.  This is also on the ballot in St. Charles County municipalities.

As a reminder, if your municipality has already passed a use tax, you do not need to put this question on the ballot.  Also there are a few small municipalities that have no local option sales tax.  These communities are not authorized to levy the vehicle fee.

 

Over 100 Officials Attend Legislative Reception Auto Ta

The League held its first ever Legislative Reception on January 14 at Westport Plaza in Maryland Heights.  Over 100 municipal officials and 15 legislators attended.

League President Mike Schneider thanked all for coming and expressed appreciation to the legislators who were fit the event into their busy schedules..  This event provided a great opportunity for League members to discuss issues with their state leaders.