|2014 Budget Update
The 2014 county budget for all funds is just over $623 million. The following chart illustrates the tax rate and dollar amount appropriated to each budget category.
In addition, the budget for the Department of Parks and Recreation has increased this year by $6 million, or 27%, due to the passage of Proposition P. Prop P is projected to provide $6 million in new annual revenue to the Department.
For additiona information about the 2014 budget, please visit the county’s Budget Division web page.
|Procurement Code Amendments
At the end of last year, I introduced a bill to amend the county’s procuremen code to require a competitive bidding process for awarding all professional services contracts.
My objective was to ensure that the procurement of all professional services or other contractual services that are not otherwise covered by state law or county code shall be done in a manner that achieves the best value for the monies expended. I am pleased to report that the bill was approved unanimously by the County Council and is now in effect.
|Complete Streets Ordinance
The Complete Streets Bill, which was approved by the County Council in late January, recommends that St. Louis County’s highway and planning departments consider additional sidewalks and dedicated bike lanes in the design of future road improvement projects. This legislation was the result of six months of collaboration between the Council, the Executive Branch, and Trailnet. Additionally, the process entailed two months of Council deliberation, during which we received input from the public. The final version of the bill was a product of a lot of hard work on both sides of the issue that, in my view, produced a strong piece of legislation.
I want to stress that the new Complete Streets ordinance is a transportation policy that will allow different methods of transportation to be considered — not mandated — when county highway projects are being thought out on an annual basis. It sets forth guiding principles, again, not mandates, that shall be considered by the planning and highway departments.
As a councilmember, I am always concerned about the potential cost of legislation; however, with this particular bill there is no mandate to spend any money. Furthermore, Complete Streets projects will follow our standard procedures, in which the highway department recommends projects to the County Council for approval. As with any item that comes before the Council, the public will be allowed input.
|What’s Happening in Third District Parks
The Department of Parks and Recreation has begun planning for the construction of an eight-acre dog park in Queeny Park. The Department will hold a public meeting to hear citizens’ views on the proposed dog park and to discuss the amenities the community would like to see included. The meeting will convene on Monday, March 3 at 6:00 p.m. at the Dog Museum, in Queeny Park. Pending the outcome of that meeting, the Department anticipates to open the dog park this fall.
In addition, the Department has been working with the Missouri Department of Conservation on natural habitat restoration in the park. It also is addressing erosion problems and aesthetics on the park frontage, along Mason Road. Construction for that work is expected to begin this summer and be completed by the end of the year.
Laumeier Sculpture Park
The county’s renovation of the Estate House is underway and should be completed by this fall. Construction of the new Adam Aaroson Art Gallery should be completed in the spring of 2015.
Additionally, the Department is constructing new handicap-accessible walkways within the Moss Shelter area, where art camps are held. This project is expected to be completed by this May.
Museum of Transportation
The Museum of Transportation has begun extending the trolley line to connect to the automobile center in the Lindbergh Building. Construction is planned to be completed by this fall.
The Department also will be rebuilding the parking lot in the upper area of the Museum property, at the Barrett Station Road building. Construction will begin late this summer and should be completed this fall.
Ohlendorf West Park
Construction of the county’s new state-of-the-art emergency communications center is nearing completion and is scheduled to be fully operational in March. The project also brought enhancements to the park including a new playground and a 1.2 mile walking trail, the construction of which has now been completed.
For more information about our county parks and recreational activities, please visit the Parks Department web page.
|2014 Election Cycle
This November 4th, St. Louis County voters will choose a county executive and representatives for County Council districts 1, 3, 5, and 7. For more information on this year’s elections, please visit the county’s Board of Elections website.
|Councilman Greg Quinn
After serving on the St. Louis County Council for more than 23 years, my colleague and good friend Greg Quinn has decided not to seek re-election this year.
A dedicated public servant, Greg has representated the residents of the Seventh Council District with honor, dignity, and distinction. A respected statesman and truly honorable man, Greg has served our community well and he will be missed on the County Council.