The 2010 U.S. Census figures are to be announced today. One of Missouri's nine congressional districts is on the chopping block as officials await word on whether the state's population is high enough to keep its current delegation. Missouri has been on the bubble between retaining its nine seats in the U.S. House or dropping down to eight. Losing a seat would mean one less vote for president in the Electoral College. And it could make it harder for Missourians to get help resolving issues with federal agencies. Don't forget the political ramifications, especially for Democrats. That's because the Republican-led state Legislature will be in charge of drawing new congressional boundaries based on the 2010 Census.
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that St. Louis county is studying how to link major north-south arterials between Interstate 64 and points south of I-44, just west of the River Des Peres. The South County Connector Study will also look at a new I-44 interchange. County officials say those living in the southernmost reaches of the county suffer poor access to the commercial and governmental core of the region. Garry Earls, the county's chief operating officer, envisions a possible extension of River Des Peres to connect with Big Bend and Laclede Station Road north of I-44. The study will look at multiple options. The Post-Dispatch reports that no funding has been set aside for the project, but once funding is found, construction could begin within five to ten years.
The St. Louis County Council has ordered a freeze on new demolition permits for commercial and industrial property until Jan. 31. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that the move gives the council time to consider a bill that would require owners to restore such demolition sites to their pre-built state. The measure was introduced Monday into the council. County officials are upset about the demolition of the closed Chrysler South Plant. They said the demolition contractor tore down the structure leaving a slab and environmental problems behind. The Post-Dispatch reports the bill would add site restoration to requirements for demolition permits. Applicants would be forced to remove all elements of structures and slabs, cover the site with dirt, seed or sod the site and install appropriate landscaping.
"Gutted factory buildings offer precious little incentive for prospective future developers." -County Executive Charlie Dooley said in a letter to the council. (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)
Supporters of a ballot question to amend the state constitution and ban personal property taxes may now begin collecting signatures to put the question on the 2012 statewide ballot. The secretary of state's office approved the ballot summary on Monday. Richard LaViolette of Fenton proposed the ballot question which seeks to ban personal property taxes on vehicles, farm machinery, and manufactured homes. LaViolette says they're a nuisance and people cannot really own their property if a tax is levied upon it. Officials estimate abolishing the tax could cost state and local governments more than $1 billion per year.