Updated at 7:30 a.m. Wednesday to correct election date error and add vote totals.
There was sparse voter turnout but overwhelming support for a major bond issue Tuesday that will allow the Metropolitan St. Louis Sewer District, to gradually increase rates to pay for necessary upgrades.
Referred to as Proposition Y, the bond issue’s passage means the average MSD customer’s bill will go up from around $29 a month to nearly $44 over the next four years. That's compared to almost $65 a month had the bond issue not been approved.
According to MSD, fixing up the nation’s fourth largest sewer system will also create jobs, ranging from construction work to accounting.
"This just can’t be about numbers on a piece of paper. This just can’t be about spending $4.3 billion over the next 23 years," said MSD spokesman Lance LeComb. "It needs to be about job creation for the next year, five years, 20 years. This needs to be an ongoing activity."
Proposition Y stems from a legal settlement between the sewer district and the EPA that was finalized at the end of April.
The Missouri Coalition for the Environment filed the initial lawsuit in 2007, which was later joined by the EPA. Kathleen Logan Smith is its executive director.
"Three years of litigation, two and a half years of mediation and it’s going to be 23-years of policing and watch dogging the project and the milestones," she said. "So, it sort of feels like a beginning and not so much an end.”
A total of 50 sewer overflows are scheduled to be eliminated by the end of the year.
Turnout in both the city and county was about nine percent. Proposition Y got 85 percent of the vote in St. Louis County, and almost 87 percent in the city.