St. Louis County Council
9:24 pm
Tue April 29, 2014

St. Louis County Council Sets Aug. 5 Election For Burkett's Seat

Voters will go to the polls in August to fill a vacant seat on the St. Louis County Council. 

Credit File photo Jason Rosenbaum/St. Louis Public Radio

The county council gave final approval Tuesday night to setting an Aug. 5 election date to fill the 2nd District seat. That slot on the seven-person council became  vacant after the death of Councilwoman Kathleen Kelly Burkett.

“That’s 150,000 people without representation,” said St. Louis County Executive Charlie Dooley. “And that needs to be addressed.”

Political party committees will choose the nominee for the seat, which includes areas of central and north St. Louis County. But the 2nd District is heavily Democratic, so whoever gets that party’s nomination will be heavily favored.

Dooley said he hadn’t heard of anybody interested in running for the seat.

Landlord bill held

Meanwhile, council members held off on giving final approval to a proposal to regulate landlords in unincorporated parts of St. Louis County.

Councilman Mike O’Mara’s bill would require landlords in unincorporated areas to obtain a license. While the license doesn’t cost anything, landlords could face fines and penalties if they don’t comply with county regulations.

O’Mara wasn’t present at Tuesday’s meeting, so the bill didn’t get a final vote. But it did face criticism during the council’s public forum section, including from Will Jordan of the Metropolitan St. Louis Equal Housing Opportunity Council.

“The possibility exists that the ordinance could have disproportionate effect on minority families, on victims of domestic violence and on persons with disabilities,” Jordan said. “If a landlord’s rental license is revoked according to the process detailed in the ordinance, the landlord is apparently required to vacate all tenants from all of its rental properties. If that’s true, such an outcome would have a disproportionate impact on minority families.”

St. Louis County Executive Charlie Dooley says he’ll refrain from commenting on the bill until it reaches his desk.

“It’s not a done deal yet of what it’s going to be and what it’s going to look like,” Dooley said. “So I want to reserve my comment until I get the full the idea of… what they’re trying to do.”

O'Mara told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch earlier this month that the bill would, among other things, make it easier for inspectors to track down out-of-state landlords who violate county codes. He also said it would allow inspectors to correct problems at properties more efficiently.