Proposition P | St. Louis Public Radio

Proposition P

Former St. Louis County police chief at his campaign kickoff for St. Louis County Council
Jo Mannies | St. Louis Public Radio

On the latest edition of the Politically Speaking podcast, St. Louis Public Radio’s Jo Mannies and Rachel Lippmann welcome former St. Louis County Police Chief Tim Fitch – who’s jumping into the political arena.

Fitch often made headlines in his former job. He didn’t hesitate to go public with some of his concerns, even when it put him at odds with then-County Executive Charlie Dooley.

St. Louis County Police Chief Jon Belmar, along with County Executive Steve Stenger, unveil the department's Special Response Unit on June 5, 2018.
Abigail Censky | St. Louis Public Radio

Two-officer cars, special training, and a focus on community policing are the hallmarks of the St. Louis County Police Department’s Special Response Unit.

The unit began operating last week. St. Louis County Police Chief Jon Belmar, County Executive Steve Stenger and members of the unit officially unveiled it Tuesday, at its new headquarters in north St. Louis County.

Steve Conway, who represented St. Louis' 8th Ward for 27 years, resigned Monday to become the city assessor.
File photo | Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

Updated at 4:25 p.m. Nov. 27 with comments from Conway — A 27-year veteran of the St. Louis Board of Aldermen has resigned to become the city’s assessor.

Krewson’s office announced Monday morning that Alderman Steve Conway, D-8th Ward, would replace St. Louis assessor Freddie Dunlap, who recently retired. The assessor determines property values in the city.

Susannah Lohr | St. Louis Public Radio

The outcome of Tuesday’s election to raise the city’s sales tax by a half-cent came down to turnout and money. 

“You have to look at the money what was spent if you want to say okay, well, how could we have gotten our message out further, how could we have let people know that this isn’t the only mechanism.” said Alderman Dan Guenther, D-9th Ward.

Guenther’s ward was one of only four that voted against Proposition P. It passed in parts of the city with majority white and majority black populations. 

Police line up against the Workhouse fence to prevent protesters from shaking it. July 21, 2017.
File photo | Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

On Tuesday, St. Louis voters approved Proposition P, a half-cent sales tax increase intended to give police and firefighters a raise. Prop P passed with nearly 60 percent of the vote.

Its support primarily came from voters in the 12th, 16th and 23rd wards, in the southwest part of the city, which together accounted for more than a quarter of all the "yes" votes. Voters in the 8th and 15th wards, covering much of the Shaw and Tower Grove neighborhoods, cast the most "no" votes.

Jeff Roorda, the St. Louis Police Officers' Association's business manager, and Alderman Joe Vaccaro, receive the news that Prop P passed. Nov. 7, 2017
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Updated 12:15 a.m., Nov. 8, with additional comments — Police and firefighters in St. Louis will get a $6,000 raise in July, after voters on Tuesday easily approved a half-cent sales tax hike.

The tax increase measure, known as Proposition P, passed with close to 60 percent of the vote. It will kick in in early 2018, and is expected to generate about $20 million a year. Most of the money will go toward the raises, though the circuit attorney’s office will receive about $1.3 million.

Rachel Lippmann | St. Louis Public Radio

Voters in the St. Louis region will go to the polls on Tuesday to decide on some key financial issues.

Most of the attention will be on St. Louis, where residents are being asked to raise the sales tax by a half-percent in order to pay police and firefighters more. Voters in St. Louis and St. Charles counties will decide an array of tax-related issues.

Alex Heuer / St. Louis Public Radio

Treasurer Tishaura Jones is calling on St. Louis residents to vote against Proposition P on Nov. 7 – a half-cent sales tax increase that will fund public safety efforts.

On Friday’s St. Louis on the Air, host Don Marsh talked to Jones, who said sales taxes are regressive and disproportionally affect the poor.

Alex Heuer / St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis voters will decide on Nov. 7 whether to increase the city’s sales tax by a half cent to fund increased public safety efforts.

On Friday’s St. Louis on the Air, host Don Marsh talked to St. Louis Mayor Lyda Krewson, who endorses the ballot measure Proposition P.

St. Louis voters will decide next Tuesday whether to boost the sales tax a half cent to fund raises for police and firefighters.
Rachel Lippmann | St. Louis Public Radio

Voters in St. Louis will go to the polls next week to decide whether to give the city’s police officers and firefighters a raise by boosting the city’s sales tax by a half-cent.

Proposition P is the second sales tax on the ballot in six months. Approval would push the rate to nearly 12 percent in some parts of the city. And the current climate around policing in St. Louis is making the measure a tough sell.

St. Louis Alderwoman Sharon Tyus, D-1st Ward, joins a wide-ranging coalition of groups on Oct. 24, 2107 to oppose Proposition P, a half-cent sales tax increase that will primarily fund higher pay for St. Louis police officers.
Chelsea Hoye | St. Louis Public Radio

A wide-ranging coalition is urging St. Louis residents to vote "no" on a proposed half-cent sales tax increase intended primarily for police officer and firefighter salaries.

If the measure passes in November, Proposition P would push the sales tax in some areas of St. Louis to nearly 12 percent. Opponents say it’s not fair to force already-struggling parts of the city to pay for policing that doesn’t benefit them.

County police and their families help pack the room as the County Council considers a police pay raise.
Jo Mannies/St. Louis Public Radio

Updated Oct. 31, 2017: Before a packed crowd, the St. Louis County Council gave final approval to a pay hike for county police beginning Jan. 1.  The vote of 6-0, with one absent, came after no debate. The result touched off lots of applause from police and their families packing the audience.

Our earlier story:

The St. Louis County Council got an earful Tuesday before members unanimously gave initial approval to a measure increasing county police pay beginning Jan. 1.  

For almost two hours, council members heard mainly from St. Louis County police officers and their families concerned that the pay hike might be blocked by a pension dispute between Council Chairman Sam Page and County Executive Steve Stenger. 

The St. Louis County Council passed a resolution Tuesday, Aug. 15, 2017, asking municipalities to spend Proposition P solely on policing. The resolution is non-binding.
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

In an effort to block municipalities from using a recently passed “public safety” tax increase on things like potholes and snow removal, the St. Louis County Council passed a resolution Tuesday asking for the money be strictly spent on policing.

Problem is, the resolution doesn’t actually do anything.

St. Louis County Police Chief Jon Belmar (center) listens to remarks by U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions. (03/31/17, Eagleton courthouse)
File photo | Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Some of St. Louis County’s mayors say money from a recently enacted sales tax increase may not make the region safer — especially because cities with high crime rates aren’t necessarily getting the most money.

The half-cent sales tax, which takes effect later fall and is widely known as Proposition P, was billed as to be used on public safety. The breakdown of the money gives about $46 million a year to the St. Louis County Police Department, with roughly $34 million from the tax will be split among the county’s 89 municipalities.

St. Louis County Police Chief Jon Belmar listens to U.S. Attorney General  Sessions' remarks. (03/31/17)
File photo | Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis County will get an estimated $80 million a year for policing and public safety efforts after voters approved Proposition P on Tuesday.

Voters cast electronic ballots at Central Baptist Church in St. Louis on Nov. 8, 2016.
File photo | Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

It’s Election Day in the St. Louis region, where voters will decide on a number of high-stakes issues.

Polls are open in Missouri and Illinois from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. Election officials in St. Louis and St. Louis County said no problems had been reported at polling stations by midday, and that turnout was light.

Webster Groves fire Capt. Jason Simpson puts a sign in the yard of a Proposition R supporter on March 12, 2017. Prop R is one of several public safety tax increases on the St. Louis County ballot in April.
Rachel Lippmann | St. Louis Public Radio

Voters in St. Louis County, various municipalities, and in St. Clair County in Illinois are being asked to open up their wallets during the April 4 election. Up for approval: a series of tax increases to boost spending on public safety.

There’s general agreement that the police and fire departments need the extra money, but requests by both specific municipalities and St. Louis County could confuse voters. Here’s a look at each ballot measure:

St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger (center) speaks at the Proposition P campaign kickoff on Wednesday, Feb. 8, 2017.
Erica Hunzinger | St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis County voters are being tasked with another request for public funding, this time a half-cent sales tax increase for policing efforts in the April election.

Officials say they’re certain that the measure, which is estimated to bring in $80 million a year, is vital for public safety both in the county and in municipalities. But some communities aren’t sure they’ll benefit much. 

The Jefferson National Expansion Memorial could change to the Gateway Arch National Park by July 2018.
(photo by Tim Tolle via Flickr Creative Commons)

The superintendent of the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial says the work to renovate the ground around the Gateway Arch could be an example for other national parks as they deal with the possibility of under-funding by the federal government.

Courtesy CityArchRiver

During its annual update to the public, the CityArchRiver foundation and its partners said they’re on track to complete improvements to the Gateway Arch grounds by 2015.

Ed Hassinger, district engineer for The Missouri Department of Transportation, confirmed that work toward a pedestrian bridge connecting downtown to the Arch is starting this summer.

CityArchRiver Chairman Walter Metcalfe said the bridge, along with a slew of other upgrades, could result in keeping visitors an extra half day.  

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