Francis Slay

Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio

Supporters of the long-delayed Ballpark Village project in downtown St. Louis made a renewed pitch today for state backing to the Missouri Development Finance Board.

The $100 million project would be built on the north side of Busch Stadium and would contain space for retail stores, restaurants, an open-air event space with a retractable roof, and a St. Louis Cardinals Hall of Fame and Museum.  Team President Bill DeWitt III says the project got sidetracked by the economic crisis that hit the country four years ago.

Joseph Leahy/St. Louis Public Radio

Financial services firm Wells Fargo Advisors is investing $33 million to expand its operations in the St. Louis area. Missouri Governor Jay Nixon and St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay joined the company’s president and CEO Danny Ludeman Friday for the announcement at the company’s downtown headquarters.

Ludeman says the plan will create 400 local jobs.

Mayor Francis Slay scored a decisive victory Friday in his months-long battle to rein in firefighter pension costs. In a 17 to 10 vote, the St. Louis Board of Aldermen approved major reforms to the department’s retirement system, cutting benefits, raising payments, and preventing full retirement until age 55.

Slay’s office estimates the changes will save the city $8 million a year in pension costs that have more than quadrupled in the last five years.

Mayor Slay’s Chief of Staff Jeff Rainford says the reforms are necessary and protect taxpayers. 

(Rachel Lippmann/St. Louis Public Radio)

After five months of debate, major reforms to the pensions for firefighters in St. Louis City are about to become law.

(Joseph Leahy/St. Louis Public Radio)

St. Louis city officials are going door to door to check on some of the city’s most vulnerable residents as high temperatures persist across the region.

About 60 city staff members are following up with nearly one thousand residents who haven’t responded to robo-calls from the Mayor’s office.The elderly and disabled residents are listed on the city’s Functional Needs Registry.

The house-to-house effort even included Mayor Francis Slay, who was out knocking on doors Tuesday.

Joseph Leahy/St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay says cutting the fire department’s pension costs will enable the city to take 30 police jobs off the chopping block.

The Board of Police Commissioners voted Monday to hold onto 30 of the 80 police positions this year’s budget eliminates through attrition, but only if a pension reform bill is passed by the Board of Alderman.

Slay says the bill, which requires firefighters to pay more into the system and prevents full retirement benefits until age 55, would save the city more than $8 million.

Joseph Leahy/St. Louis Public Radio

The bulk of Mayor Francis Slay’s firefighter pension reform bill stalled today in the St. Louis Board of Alderman’s Public Safety Committee.

The committee passed a provision barring trustees of the Firemen’s Retirement System from suing the city over the design or benefits of the pension plan. But the committee postponed voting on major reforms that would make firefighters to pay more into the system and prevent retirement until age 55.

Alderman Larry Arnowitz says he’s certain if reform passes, firefighters will fight the changes in court.

(UPI/Bill Greenblatt)

An effort by St. Louis mayor Francis Slay to get the spiraling cost of firefighter pensions under control also allow the same sex-partners of city firefighters to get survivor benefits if their partner is killed in the line of duty.

"This is something that could not be done at the state level, would not be done at the state level, which is another reason we want to get local control of the firefighter pensions here in St. Louis," Slay said.

(St. Louis Public Radio)

The St. Louis Board of Commissioners have approved a plan to reduce the number of city police districts.

The city currently operates a total of nine districts that were established back in 1962.

But Police Chief Dan Isom says the department had twice as many officers back then and more than twice the number of citizens to serve.

“In the last 30 years we’ve lost about 1,000 officers,” Isom said.  We used to have 2,200 officers, now we’re down to about 1,300 officers.  But the slots for those command structures are still the same.”

(UPI/Bill Greenblatt)

St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay is asking the city’s Convention and Visitors Commission to reject the Rams’ request for $700 million in upgrades to the Edward Jones Dome.

But that doesn’t necessarily mean the team is on its way out of town.

Speaking on St. Louis on the Air, Slay said the Ram’s requests was a “best-case scenario” for the team, and did not reflect a take-it-or-leave-it offer.

The city’s plan calls for upgrades totaling $124 million—a figure which Slays says is a starting point for further negotiations.

(Joseph Leahy/St. Louis Public Radio)

St. Louis Mayor Francis Slays says Rev. Larry Rice’s plan to host a homeless camp on Vandeventer Ave.  north of Interstate 44 is a bad idea. 

Speaking today on "St. Louis on the Air," Slay said he’s concerned about the same safety and health problems that plagued the tent cities by the Mississippi riverfront.

“If they’re on the property without the proper permits – the occupancy permits and other things under the zoning laws – they will be asked to leave and if they continue to violate the law people will be moved,” he said.

(UPI/Bill Greenblatt)

The St. Louis Blues are in the second round of the NHL playoffs for the first time in a decade, and Mayor Slay is honoring the resurgent team.

Slay declared Friday as St. Louis Blues Day and is asking St. Louisans to wear blue in recognition of the day. The Blues open the second round of the playoffs with a home game Saturday against the Los Angeles Kings.

The Blues beat San Jose to win the first-round series in five games.

(Rachel Lippmann/St. Louis Public Radio)

A $966 million budget for the city of St. Louis has made it through the first of many hurdles at City Hall.

Mayor Francis Slay, comptroller Darlene Green, and Board of Aldermen president Lewis Reed - who make up the Board of Estimate and Apportionment - all approved the budget on Friday. That sends it to the Board of Aldermen, who can shift money around but cannot add to the overall level of spending.

Joseph Leahy/St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis City officials says 80 officer positions must be cut from the city's police force to offset the department's rising pay, health care and pension costs. 

Police Chief Dan Isom and Mayor Francis Slay support eliminating the jobs through attrition. 30 positions, funded through federal grants, would end this year, when those grants are slated to expire.

Mayor Francis Slay says despite a 45 percent increase in police spending since he took office, spending for retirement benefits is out of control.

(Rachel Lippmann/St. Louis Public Radio)

Though they waited until the last possible minute in the current session, the St. Louis Board of Aldermen has approved a measure that lays the ground for reforms to the pension system for its firefighters.

(Rachel Lippmann/St. Louis Public Radio)

St. Louis has joined cities like Minneapolis and Seattle in requiring developers and rehabbers to install bike racks in certain projects.

Mayor Francis Slay signed the bike parking ordinance at City Hall on Wednesday. It requires developers and rehabbers of most projects over $1 million to install at least one bike rack that can hold at least two bikes.  The offsite parking requirement is reduced by one space for every bike rack that's installed.

(Rachel Lippmann/St. Louis Public Radio)

A Missouri House committee heard testimony Monday on legislation that would make cuts to the pension system for St. Louis firefighters.

The bill would not go as far as a proposal made by Mayor Francis Slay:  Among the differences, Slay’s plan would have all firefighters put 9 percent of their salaries into the system, and new hires would not get any of that money back upon retirement.  The bill in the State House would have new firefighters put in 8 percent, and upon retirement would get back 25 percent of what they paid in.  F.I.R.E. Chairman and St. Louis firefighter Abram Pruitt, Junior, traveled to Jefferson City to support the bill.

(Rachel Lippmann/St. Louis Public Radio)

All sides involved in the effort to bring down the cost of pensions for firefighters in the city of St. Louis say negotiations are going well.

(Rachel Lippmann/St. Louis Public Radio)

The dispute over the best way to reduce the cost of firefighter pensions in the city of St. Louis continued on Friday, with Lewis Reed, the president of the Board of Aldermen, laying out his plan.

Reed, whose Twitter feed tracked the progress of a Thursday late-night meeting among himself, firefighters, and selected aldermen, says his plan will reduce the city's required contribution into the Fireman's Retirement System for next year by $7.6 million. Reed unveiled the plan at a City Hall news conference Friday.

IMAGE IS ONLY 200 pixels Careful.  Eddie Roth
Office of Mayor Francis Slay

St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay has appointed Eddie Roth as the city's new director of public safety.

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