Greetings and thanks to those who read our initial weekly recap sent out last week.

Special thanks to each of you who took the time to respond to the email and let us know your thoughts on this new endeavor.

The State of the Report

Forward Through Ferguson, the successor organization of the Ferguson Commission, released The State of the Report – a detailed scoring on where the region is in advancing or implementing the 47 signature priorities to “achieve a racially equitable St. Louis.”

WHY THIS MATTERS: The fragmented structure of governmental bodies in St. Louis makes the advancement and implementation of these Calls to Action exceedingly difficult, and in many cases, impossible.

  • Many of the recommendations center around policing and courts.
  • Activists are forced to try and effect change in 55 separate police departments and77 municipal courts.
  • A success achieved in one city must then be replicated many times over.

BE IN THE KNOW: The St. Louis City-County Governance Task Force is developing recommendations (expected this Fall) to improve the cost, effectiveness, and equitable distribution of municipal services in the region. From its onset, the Task Force has aspired “to create a region steeped in racial, social, and economic equity.” Task Force member, Arindam Kar affirmed the same, this past week:

AKstl Tweet

“Hanley Hills lives on”

That’s the result of a disincorporation measure that was before voters in Hanley Hills this past Tuesday.

Unofficial results show a vote of 291–188 for the municipality of just over 2,000 residents, opposing disincorporating and becoming a part of unincorporated St. Louis County.

The Post-Dispatch reports residents organized to place the measure on the ballot through initiative petition after:

  • “Two members of the board of trustees were removed from office within a year because they had felony convictions and could not legally serve.” 
  • “The cost of street repairs was estimated at $1.5 million, equal to two years of the city’s entire budget.”

Organizers who supported dissolving the municipality contended that:

  • roads have become untenable, building and property codes are selectively enforced by trustees, and homeowners are no longer concerned with property upkeep.”
  • disincorporation is the only way forward, financially and otherwise, for the village because the money isn’t there to handle basic services like street repair.”

BE IN THE KNOW: Expenditures in Hanley Hills totaled more than $630,000 in 2016, with the municipality generating approximately $500,000 and $110,000 from sales and property tax, respectively.

WHY THIS MATTERS: Last week, we detailed the ongoing drop in sales taxes. Officials who fought to remain an independent municipality now have critical financial decisions before them.

  • Without increased revenue in Hanley Hills, the municipality will be incapable of fulfilling its infrastructure improvement needs.

Police chief salaries

Better Together’s report on policing showed the 55 police departments between St. Louis County and the City of St. Louis combine to spend more than $468 MILLION annually, including over $4 MILLION on the salaries of police chiefs. 

BE IN THE KNOW: Like the services provided by the 55 individual police departments, there is a disparity in salaries of the officers who serve.

HOW WE COMPARE: To put these numbers in context, Indianapolis-Marion County spends $224,665,041, for its police service, while Louisville-Jefferson County spends $194,549,857.

Update: “Mount Crestwood” to become a prairie 

Previously, we compiled the timeline that led to a pile of dirt on the site of the old Crestwood Plaza.

  • One Crestwood resident claimed the rubble is pulling down on community goodwill” 
  • The city manager concurs, “The dirt mounds in Crestwood have become a joke, an eyesore…”
  • The developer received a citation for failing to clear the pile before their mid-July deadline

UPDATE: “the Chicago-based firm will plant native prairie grass to help control erosion and improve the aesthetics of the site.”

BE IN THE KNOW: “there has been no progress on the redevelopment site since the retail landscape surrounding the area has deteriorated.”

  • “There’s still great density there, but the area is suffering from many of the retail sites around the region — and that is that supply is exceeding the demand.”

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