Charlene Jones, a longtime political and education strategist who managed the Prop 1 campaign, speaks to a cheerful crowd at St. Louis Public Schools' downtown headquarters after watching election results come in.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis voters easily reaffirmed the city's earnings tax, a solid victory for city leaders and a stinging defeat for retired financier Rex Sinquefield.

And city residents also approved several other propositions, including a $25 million bond issue and a property tax increase for St. Louis Public Schools.

A view looking out on the rotunda from the second floor of St. Louis city hall.
File photo| St. Louis Public Radio

A major source of revenue for the city of St. Louis is one step closer to appearing on the city’s April 5 ballot. The Board of Alderman’s Ways and Means Committee approved a measure to renew the city’s 1 percent earnings tax Wednesday.

In 2010, Missouri voters passed a state law requiring cities who charge earnings tax to put renewing the tax to a public vote every five years. After passing with ease in 2011, it’s time for St. Louis voters to weigh in once more.

RiverCity Images

Updated 2/7/14 to correct the timeline of the lawsuit against MSD.

The Metropolitan St. Louis Sewer District is preparing for its first big dig.

Starting in a few days, MSD will begin construction of a 3,028 foot-long tunnel under the River Des Peres, just south of Carondelet.

The tunnel will hold a pressurized pipe that will carry sewage to the Lemay Wastewater Treatment Plant.

Andrew Wamboldt/KOMU News - via Flickr

The Missouri Supreme Court heard arguments Tuesday for and against the constitutionality of a Metropolitan St. Louis Sewer District storm water fee.

(via MSD)

The St. Louis Metropolitan Sewer District has named its new executive director, Brian Hoelscher.

Hoelscher takes over the job from Jonathon Sprague, who served as interim executive director since January. Jeff Theerman had the job since 2004 and had announced his retirement effective Jan. 11.

(via Google Maps screen capture)

The Metropolitan St. Louis Sewer District has unveiled new goals for the number of minorities and women who must be involved with the agency’s big construction projects.

The agency plans to set higher thresholds for the number of minorities and women doing the actual construction work on projects. MSD has also added workforce goals for local residents and those enrolled in apprentice programs.

The changes, which are outlined below, followed two years of work. They're based on a study by the national firm Mason Tillman.

Here's some definitions to know:

(via Flickr/kevindooley)

A mistake by the St. Louis County Department of Revenue will cost the Metropolitan St. Louis Sewer District about $2 million in expected tax revenue.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that employees at the department failed to add a surcharge to about 200,000 property tax bills. The revenue generated by the additional tax helps MSD control storm water runoff inside Interstate 270.

National Weather Service

*This story will be updated 

*Updated Sunday at 2:45 p.m. with details river levels and drought relief 

Large parts of rural Missouri and Illinois had between three to five inches of rainfall this weekend, according to the National Weather Service.

In St. Louis, Nation Weather Service Meteorologist Jayson Gosselin said Oakville received three and a half inches of rain, the most in the metropolitan area. 

Gosselin added, though, that it will take much more rain to snap this summer’s historic drought.

(National Weather Service)

The latest forecast from the National Weather Service shows the remnants of Hurricane Isaac passing through the St. Louis region on Saturday morning. 

That has local officials getting ready for problems that could result from a major rainfall.

Metropolitan Sewer District spokesman Lance LeComb said storms like Isaac have historically presented the greatest threat of flash flooding.

(Véronique LaCapra)

The minority business advocacy group MOKAN says the Metropolitan St. Louis Sewer District is not doing enough to include local minority and female workers in its sewer upgrade projects.

MOKAN executive director Yaphett El-Amin says her group wants MSD to increase the transparency of its hiring practices and invest at least $23.5 million in worker training programs.

(Maria Altman/St. Louis Public Radio)

The Metropolitan St. Louis Sewer District has resolved a lawsuit with the Environmental Protection Agency with promises to fix its aging system.

But the consent decree, which still must be signed off on by a federal judge, comes with a huge price tag, an estimated $4.7 billion over 23 years.

In the second of a two-part series on the overhaul of the sewer district, St. Louis Public Radio’s Maria Altman explains MSD’s rate payers will be picking up the tab.

Véronique LaCapra, St. Louis Public Radio

This summer, the Metropolitan St. Louis Sewer District settled a four-year lawsuit with the Environmental Protection Agency over violations of the Clean Water Act.

Under the terms of the consent decree, MSD will spend the next 23 years upgrading the St. Louis area sewer system.

In the first of a two-part series on the sewer overhaul, St. Louis Public Radio’s Véronique LaCapra looks at the problems with our sewers—and what it’s going to take to fix them.

(Rachel Lippmann/St. Louis Public Radio)

The Metropolitan St. Louis Sewer District says it will be developing a new system to monitor back-up power sources at its pumping stations.

(via Google Maps screen capture)

MSD holds public hearings on rate increase

The Metropolitan St. Louis Sewer District's independent Rate Commission is holding the first in a series of public hearings Monday on a proposed rate increase. The proposal would increase customer wastewater rates to help fund more than a billion dollars in needed wastewater system investments between July 1, 2012 and June 30, 2016.

Storm water rates would not be affected by the rate increase.

UPI/Bill Greenblatt

Joplin School Board begins paying massive bills from May 22 tornado

Yesterday, the Joplin School Board approved payment of nearly $30 million for the month of July and about half of August. The district's typical monthly bill is between $6 million to $7 million.

The Joplin Globe reports that the district is using insurance and Federal Emergency Management Agency reimbursements to help pay the bills.

(via Google Maps screen capture)

The Metropolitan St. Louis Sewer District is urging its customers to weigh in on a proposed rate increase that could push monthly sewer bills to $85 a month within 10 years.

"Without that input, we're going to be making some very important decisions on our own, and when you look at the cost, it really needs to be a community conversation," said agency spokesman Lance LeComb.

Missouri Dept. of Transportation

Sewer line rupture forces lane closures on EB I-70

The Missouri Department of Transportation is urging motorists to avoid eastbound Interstate 70 between Shreve and west Florissant Monday as repairs continue on a ruptured sewer line.

Deanna Venker, MoDOT area engineer for St. Louis City, says crews worked overnight to fix the sewer line. Concrete is curing and crews are working on road repairs.

(Photo courtesy of MoDOT)

Updated 9:30 p.m. with additional lane closures:

The Missouri Department of Transportation now says they will have to close the two right lanes of eastbound Interstate 70 at Shreve during Monday morning rush  hour to repair a collapsed sewer line. That will leave one lane open between Shreve and West Florissant. MoDOT officials are strongly urging people to avoid the area.

Our earlier story:

Flickr/(SDNG photo by OC Chad Carlson)

Flooding in Mo. Imminent According to Gov. Nixon

Gov. Jay Nixon says Missouri is gearing up for imminent and "unprecedented" flooding along the Missouri River.

Nixon said Thursday in St. Joseph that Missourians will face flooding soon along the Missouri River because of rising water levels in the river basin in the northern Plains. He says people with property and businesses in the floodplain should prepare for "unprecedented high water levels."

The Metropolitan Sewer District says it plans to appeal a July court ruling that threw out a new system for charging for stormwater system maintenance.

The new fee charged people based on how much of their property could not absorb water. But Lincoln County judge Dan Dildine ruled that it was actually a tax, and therefore had to be approved by voters.