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.
Noteworthy appropriations for this budget year include:

  • $7 million for employee pay raises
  • $3 million for facility maintenance
  • $3 million for maintenance and improvements to the county’s road  system
  • $1 million to demolish vacant problem properties
  • $1 million to provide voter identification technology
  • $1 million for economic development and job creation initiatives
  • $1 million to improve and expand the county’s youth services programs

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

Queeny Park

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.