St. Louis Board of Aldermen

Updated with quotes from sponsor Phyllis Young.

The St. Louis Board of Aldermen voted today to reduce its numbers by more than half, but city voters will have the final say.

Today's vote passed 21-7 - an expected result, as it cleared a procedural hurdle June 29 with 19 votes.

Rachel Lippmann/St. Louis Public Radio

A measure to cut the St. Louis Board of Aldermen in half moved a step closer to reality at City Hall today.

The bill cleared a procedural hurdle with more than enough votes to eventually approve the legislation.

South city alderman Steve Conway supports the cut. He says he understands that some of his colleagues prefer smaller wards because it's easier to provide hands-on service.

A bill that would cut the St. Louis Board of Aldermen in half has cleared the first of several hurdles it faces before becoming law.

The board’s legislation committee approved the bill by a vote of 7-1. It still needs the thumbs-up from the entire Board, and then from 60 percent of the voters in November.

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.

Joseph Leahy/St. Louis Public Radio

The size of St. Louis's ward districts could more than double under a proposal moving through the Board of Alderman's Legislation Committee this week.

Members discussed a bill today that would eliminate about half of the city's aldermanic seats - from the current 28 down to 12.

Alderman Scott Ogilvie supports the change but says the board must consider how the duties of aldermen would be affected. 

Joseph Leahy / St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis Alderwoman Phyllis Young is sponsoring a bill to cut the size of the St. Louis Board of Aldermen by more than half. Similar proposals have failed over the decades, but Young says this is the first time the call comes from inside the Board itself.

The bill so far has the support of 11 of the 15 aldermen needed to pass.Young says in addition to saving money, cutting the board from 28 to 12 will better reflect the city’s changing population.

(via Facebook/Antonio French)

Updated at 8:45 p.m. to clarify the location of mingled funds.

The Missouri Ethics Commission has fined St. Louis city Alderman Antonio French nearly $38,000 for a series of campaign finance violations that occurred during his successful 2009 campaign for the 21st Ward seat.

French, a Democrat, was charged with five violations, including failing to maintain a checking account at a chartered bank for about nine months, and failing to update campaign records to indicate the closure of the old account and the opening of a new one.

(via Flickr/ChrisYunker)

A $25 million donation to Forest Park may be in jeopardy if the St. Louis Board of Aldermen cannot approve a bond issue for parks improvement by the end of the year.

The two bond issues - one for Forest Park, another for the city's 100+ other parks - stalled again Thursday at the Board of Aldermen.

The bills would work in the following way:

(via Flickr/Ctd 2005)

The St. Louis Board of Aldermen has sent Mayor Francis Slay legislation that would tighten restrictions on the way junkyards handle scrap metal.

(UPI/Bill Greenblatt)

A measure that local preservationists worry could lead to the demolition of the UFO-shaped former home of Del Taco on Grand Ave. is on its way to the mayor's desk.

Adam Allington / St. Louis Public Radio

A taco stand shaped like a giant flying saucer was the subject of heated debate at the St. Louis City Board of Aldermen on Wednesday.

The board’s Housing, Urban Development and Zoning Committee approved a tax abatement bill which could move North Grand’s Del Taco one step closer to demolition.

The iconic gas station turned fast-food joint has become a cause célèbre among local preservationists.

(via Flickr/Richie Diesterheft)

EMS billing will be outsourced, and overtime for firefighters and jail guards has been cut under a budget approved Friday by the St. Louis Board of Aldermen.

The money the city hopes to save by outsourcing helped aldermen restore funds for bulk trash pick-up, crime prevention and building demolition.

But it was $500,000 that wasn't restored to the Affordable Housing Commission that drew the lone no vote from Alderwoman Kacie Starr Triplett.

(Rachel Lippmann/St. Louis Public Radio)

A unanimous vote today by the legislation committee of the St. Louis Board of Aldermen kicked off the public part of the city's redistricting process.

(Rachel Lippmann/St. Louis Public Radio)

"The last elected GOP official has left the building.”

That's how Aldermen Fred Heitert concluded his remarks at the St. Louis Board of Aldermen this morning as his colleagues paid tribute to his 32 years of service.

Heitert was one of two incumbents to lose re-election bids this cycle.

He was the longest-serving member of the current board, and was ousted six years short of having the longest aldermanic career.

His colleagues who rose in tribute spoke of his wisdom, and the fact that he always paid attention.

(Rachel Lippmann/St. Louis Public Radio)

Larry Arnowitz knew his campaign against Fred Heitert was a long-shot at best. After all, Heitert had served the 12th Ward on the city’s southwest side since 1979, winning eight elections as a Republican without the benefit of a Republican voting base. (He lost that in the 1981 redistricting, when the other Republican poached it.

But during his years as a city employee, Arnowitz got to meet Albert "Red" Villa, the longest-serving alderman in St. Louis history. He also served as a deputy sheriff at the pleasure of Red's son Tom, when Tom was the Board president. (The two will serve together on the board for the next two years. Tom is filling the seat of his nephew Matt, who resigned to focus on expanding Villa Lighting, the family business.)

(Rachel Lippmann/St. Louis Public Radio)

Another incumbent alderman has lost his seat at City Hall.

Fred Heitert, a 32-year members of the Board of Aldermen and for many years its only Republican, lost his re-election bid by 48 votes to Democrat Larry Arnowitz, a longtime city employee.

(via Flickr/Richie Diesterheft)

Updated at 12:30 p.m. Wed. with correct percentages

Updated with final unofficial results at 10:30 p.m.

A former St. Louis alderman who was recalled from office in 2005 over his support for controversial development projects in his south city ward seems poised to take his old seat back in April.

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