St. Louis mayor Francis Slay made history last night.
Final unofficial results show him winning a fourth, four-year term with more than 81 percent of the vote. Other mayors have served more terms, but they were just a year long. On April 27, Slay will become the longest-serving mayor in the city's history.
"Winning the fourth term is not the history," Slay told a crowd of friends, family and supporters on Tuesday night. "What we do with the fourth term is."
Slay's agenda centers for that fourth term centers around a sustainability plan his administration outlined in February. It calls for, among other things, a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, 20 new charter schools, and lower crime rates. The plan is meant to be implemented over five years - some parts will take longer.
While Slay did not rule out running again in 2017, he says he wanted to establish a legacy regardless.
"We didn’t want to stop at four years," he said. "We wanted to look 20 years and beyond, in terms of what we want to be as a city and how we want to get there."
Like most municipal elections, turnout was low - just over 12 percent. Slay secured victory with less than 20,000 votes, but says he isn't worried about the message that vote total sends.
"I think this was anti-climactic, in the sense that people felt like the big election was in the [primary] election, so there wasn’t a heavy turnout, there wasn’t a big motivation to do that," he said.
Slay says he’s willing to start working closely again with aldermanic president Lewis Reed, whom he defeated in the primary. Reed announced this week that he’ll run for re-election to his office in two years.
Parks, Arch grounds will get funding boost from increased sales tax
The so-called Arch Tax was approved last night by voters in both St. Louis City and County and its supporters say the money will strengthen parks.
The 3/16th of a cent sales tax cruised to victory in the city with 67 percent of the vote, but faced a stiffer challenge in the county where it received about 52 percent of the vote.
(Go here for an in-depth explanation of Proposition P)
Its approval means millions of dollars toward improving the parks and trails in both the city and county and the Arch grounds.
Great Rivers Greenway will manage the revenue. Susan Trautman is executive director of the publicly funded agency and says spruced up trails and parks will help attract companies and jobs to the region.
“It makes St. Louis a better place to live,” Trautman says. “Voters and supporters said that today, they love their parks, they love this region, they want to be part of making change. And we’re going to do it, we’re going to deliver.”
She says the plan is to have all projects completed by 2015.
Critics, however, say the tax is unnecessary and that the city and county have more pressing areas of concern.
Jennifer Bird is a Republican Committeewoman in St. Louis County who is with the Vote No on Prop P campaign.
She says the 3/16th of a cent sales tax will lead to a slippery slope of further taxation.
“This is how they get you,” Bird says. “What’s the best way to boil a frog? Put him in the water and raise the temperature slowly, because by the time he realizes what’s going on it’s too late for him to jump out.”
Bird has several concerns about the tax, including whether there is adequate oversight of the groups that will administer the funds.
She adds that she will actively campaign against the tax should supporters make a push to get it on the ballot in St. Charles County.
- The Rockwood School District once again failed to convince voters to support a controversial bond issue. With all precincts reporting, unofficial results show the measure being defeated 47 percent to 52 percent. It needed more than 57 percent to pass.
- And in a battle of former Republican state lawmakers, Jane Cunningham beat Cole McNary for a seat on the Monarch Fire Protection District board by about 1,900 votes.
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