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City of St. Louis, Missouri

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Portions of this article were taken from Wikipedia.

St. Louis is an independent city[1] on the eastern border of Missouri, United States. According to the 2010 U.S. Census, its population of 319,294 made it the 58th-largest U.S. city, while the Greater St. Louis combined statistical area's population of 2,845,298 made it the 16th-largest urban area in the country and the largest in the state. It also made it the fourth largest metropolitan area in the Midwest.

The city of St. Louis was founded in 1764 by Pierre Laclède and Auguste Chouteau, and after the Louisiana Purchase, it became a major port on the Mississippi River. Its population expanded after the American Civil War, and it became the fourth-largest city in the United States in the late 19th century. It seceded from St. Louis County in 1876, allowing it to become an independent city and limiting its political boundaries. In 1904, it hosted the 1904 World's Fair and the 1904 Olympic Games. The city's population peaked in 1950, then began a long decline.

Website Transparency

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Transparency grading process


Last rated on March 23, 2012.

The good

  • Budget is published.[2]
  • The President[3] and Board of Aldermen[4] are listed with contact information, as well as an informative guide to the Board[5].
  • Board meetings[6], minutes, and agendas[7] are posted.
  • Administrative officials listed under respective department[8]
  • Building permit[9] and zoning[10] information available.
  • Audits are available.[11]
  • Information about making public records requests is posted[12].
  • Taxes can be paid online, local tax info provided.[13]

The bad

Budget

2012 budget:[15]

FY11 FY12
General Fund $451.2M $450.0M
Special Revenue
& Other Funds
266.5M 263.6M
Enterprise Funds 220.0M 224.0M
Total $937.6M $937.6M

Public employees

Elected officials

In the St. Louis area, governmental authority and power is not concentrated in any single entity or official. The central City as a smaller tax base than comparable metropolitan jurisdictions. Consequently, major initiatives with regional implications can be accomplished only through coalitions with political leadership outside the city. However, many of the region's public facilities along with other various attractions are located within the city limits bestowing a certain responsibility among St. Louis.[5]

Within the 28 members there are four officers. The President, Vice-president, Majority Floor Leader and Assistant Majority Floor Leader. The President is elected city wide and the remaining three are determined by seniority.[5]

  • The President presides at all the meeting, preserves decorum and determines all questions of order. He or she also appoints standing and special committees and serves as an equal member of all committees. The President assigns bills to appropriate committees and refers bills, when ready, to the Engrossment Committee. the President directs action from the broad elevated podium in the front and center of the semi-circular chamber.
  • The Vice-president performs all the duties of the President when he or she is absent.
  • The Majority Floor Leader handles all Aldermanic administrative duties on the floor. He or she moves to: defer the approval of the minutes until printed, approve minutes when printed in the Journal of the Board of Aldermen, excuse Aldermen, adjourn to a certain date and carry out miscellaneous duties assigned by the President. In the absence of the Vice-president he or she assumes the role.
  • The Assistant Majority Floor Leader performs all the duties of the Majority Floor Leader when he or she is absent.
  • The Clerk of the Board of Aldermen perform all duties necessary to the functioning of the Board. The Clerk is the official repository of all reports and records of the Board of Aldermen and his or her duties are almost limitless. His or her duties include the maintenance of records of all the proceedings. During the Board meetings, the Clerk is positioned just below the President and is responsible for voting procedures.

The current President of the Board is Lewis Reed.[3] See information on all 28 other Aldermen here.[4]

Legislation is introduced by Aldermen in the form of bills. The mayor may introduce bills or cause them to be introduced by requesting the chairmen of specific committees to sponsor such a bill. Bills are read before the entire Board upon introduction. After the first reading the bill is sent to specific standing committee for study and recommendation. The committee, after considering the bill, reports it back to the full Board for a second reading. It may be referred back to committee for some reason or it may be put on the informal calendar. It is possible, however, to suspend the rules so that a Bill may be read for a third time and passed in the same meeting. If the Bill is delayed in committee or elsewhere it eventually will be read a third time being either passed or defeated. Approval by a simple majority of fifteen or more is required for passage except for those dealing with the sale of any of the City's real estate or for the discontinuance or establishment of administrative divisions which require a two-thirds or 20 vote. The Mayor may sign or veto a bill within 10 to 20 days after it is presented to him. If he or she does not take action, the bill automatically becomes law. A two-thirds majority is required to over-ride a mayoral veto. Unless the measure is an emergency it does not take effect until 30 days after the Mayor signs the bill or it is adopted over his veto.[5]

To become an Alderman one must be a registered voter and at least twenty-five years of age. Before their respective elections he or she must have been a United States citizen for at least five years, three years a resident of the city and one year a resident of the ward from which elected. The Board of Aldermen are their own judge with regard to qualifications except the President. The President must be at least thirty years of age and a city resident for a least five years.[5]

Current elected officials include:[16]

Name Position
Francis G. Slay Mayor
Darlene Green Comptroller
Lewis Reed President, Board of Aldermen
Antonio D. French Alderman
Charles Quincy Troupe Alderman
Craig Schmid Alderman
Frank Williamson Alderman
Fred Wessels Alderman
Freeman Bosley, Sr. Alderman
Gregory Carter Alderman
Jeffrey Boyd Alderman
Joseph Roddy Alderman
Joseph Vaccaro Alderman
Joseph Vollmer Alderman
Kenneth Ortmann Alderman
Larry Arnowitz Alderman
Samuel L. Moore Alderman
Scott Ogilvie Alderman
Shane Cohn Alderman
Stephen Conway Alderman
Terry Kennedy Alderman
Thomas Villa Alderman
Carol Howard Alderman
Dionne Flowers Alderman
Donna Baringer Alderman
Jennifer Florida Alderman
Kacie Starr Triplett Alderman
Lyda Krewson Alderman
Marlene Davis Alderman
Phyllis Young Alderman
Tammika Hubbard Alderman
Gregory F. X. Daly Collector of Revenue
Michael McMillan License Collector
Gerard Nester Public Administrator
James W. Murphy Sheriff
Larry C. Williams Treasurer

Administrative officials

A list of administrative departments can be found here.

Salary

Aldermen today receive an annual salary of approximately $32,000. All receive the same pay regardless of seniority or duty. Increases in compensation is based on a percentage equal to the average increases recommended by the Civil Service Commission. The President's salary is approximately $80,000. In addition to their salary each Alderman is allowed a taxable $4,200 expense fund. The Aldermen can use this money at their discretion but they are required to report to the Clerk of the Board of Aldermen whereby determining the legitimate business in which the money is allowed.[5]

Pensions

Main article: Missouri public pensions

All employees whose job is at least half-time annually become members of the city's Retirement System upon employment. Retirement benefits are determined based on final average compensation and years of service. Full benefits begin at age 65, or when age and years of service combine to equal 85. Members are not required to contribute to the city's retirement system.[17]

A pension benefits calculator is available here.

Public Safety

The Department of Public Safety, the largest municipal government department in the City of St. Louis with more than 1,600 employees, has the following divisions:[18]

  • Building Division
  • City Emergency Management Agency
  • Corrections Division, which includes the City Justice Center and Medium Security Institution
  • Excise Division (liquor control office)
  • Fire Department, which includes the Bureau of Emergency Medical Services
  • Neighborhood Stabilization Team, which includes Citizens' Service Bureau
  • Office of Special Events

The mission of the Department is to use its resources to safeguard the people who live, work, do business and visit the city. The staff of the various divisions are hardworking and committed to improving their level of performance as well as developing policy and procedures that are transparent, understandable and streamlined. Together, we strive to be the premier municipal public safety department.[18]

The Department of Public Safety is responsible for:[18]

  • Code enforcement in the development of new construction and substantial rehabilitation)
  • preventing use of unsafe buildings (monitoring unsafe buildings to prevent usage)
  • emergency management planning (and execution)
  • fire prevention and suppression (fire education and suppression)
  • emergency medical services
  • land use zoning
  • issuing permits for residential and commercial construction, business occupancy, the sale and distribution of alcoholic beverages
  • management of correctional facilities (and inmates)
  • neighborhood safety, enrichment programs and citizen services (work order and complaint reporting system)
  • special events planning.

Lobbying

The city does not provide information on membership in taxpayer funded lobbying associations.

Transparency & public records

The city lists officials responsible for handling public records requests within individual departments here.

Taxes

The city collects an earnings, personal property, and real estate tax. The 1% earnings tax is collected from all city residents and non-city residents who work within the city. Funds from the earnings tax make up 1/3 of city revenues.[19]

A personal property tax is charged on all motor vehicles, boats, recreational vehicles, and motorcycles. Personal property tax bills are mailed in November, and due by December 31st.[20]

A real estate tax is assessed on the city's approximately 220,000 parcels of land. Property valuation is conducted every two years by the Assessor's Office.[21]

External links

References