St. Louis County goes on holiday recess with approved budget
The St. Louis County Council has approved a 2012 budget after a contentious season of fiscal wrangling with County Executive Charlie Dooley. Early this fall Dooley's county budget estimates convinced him to propose drastic cuts. Dooley drew sharp criticism for his proposal to shut down 23 county parks and lay off almost 200 county employees.
St. Louis County Executive Charlie Dooley admits that he made missteps over the last few months as Missouri's largest county tried to deal with an unprecedented budget shortfall. Dooley told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that he made what he called clumsy mistakes, saying the recession is "new territory" for the county.
Members of the St. Louis County Council have reached a budget deal that avoids the closure of 23 county parks.
The two sides announced the compromise at a County Council meeting Tuesday night. The new 2012 budget keeps open all 50 of the county parks, and reduces the number of job cuts from 173 to about 40. It also maintains plowing in unincorporated areas that receive less than two inches of snow.
Governor Jay Nixon (D) is defending his decision to explore the possibility of the state jointly running several county parks in St. Louis County that are being targeted for closure.
The parks in question include Lone Elk Park in West County, home to wild elk, turkey, deer and buffalo. State Senator Jim Lembke (R, Lemay) is questioning whether the governor has the authority to enter into such an agreement.
Nixon reaches out to Dooley over possible closure of county parks
Mo. Gov. Jay Nixon says his administration has begun discussions with St. Louis County Executive Charlie Dooley in hopes of helping to keep open some county parks slated for closure. Dooley announced last month that up to 23 county parks could be closed due to budget constraints.