St. Louis Board of Aldermen

Rachel Lippmann/St. Louis Public Radio

The St. Louis Board of Aldermen met today for the last time ahead of the mayoral and aldermanic elections in March and April. Here's what came out (and didn't) of a hectic day at City Hall:

Foreclosure mediation

Aldermen sent Mayor Francis Slay a measure that would require lenders to offer homeowners foreclosure mediation. The homeowners do not have to accept, and there's no requirement to reach an agreement.

AP

A tax to generate funds to improve the Gateway Arch, as well regional parks and trails took a step forward in the St. Louis Board of Aldermen on Friday.

The so-called “Arch Tax” creates a 3/16th cent sales tax.  If approved by voters in St. Louis City and County the tax would raise $120 million for the Arch grounds.

It would also raise about $600 million for city and county parks as well as the Great Rivers Greenway park and trail district.

The bill passed overwhelmingly with 24 in favor, 3 against and 1 “present” vote.

(UPI/Bill Greenblatt)

Updated to correct Alex Ihnen quote.

Despite concerns about the oversight of funds, a committee of the St. Louis Board of Aldermen approved on Thursday a sales tax meant to help pay for upgrades of the Arch grounds.

(Rachel Lippmann/St. Louis Public Radio)

The St. Louis Board of Aldermen is a step closer to addressing some legal concerns with its new pension system for firefighters.

The measure cleared a procedural hurdle today, 18-10. A final vote will take place next week, likely with a similar result.

Judge Robert Dierker issued a preliminary ruling in October that the city was in rights to terminate the old pension system for firefighters and start a new one. But Dierker had some concerns about the way the new system treated vested employees.

(via Flickr/s_falkow)

Nearly seven years later, the battle over the recall of former St. Louis alderman Tom Bauer is a step closer to final.

The Missouri Court of Appeals today threw out a $150,000 defamation verdict for fliers published against Bauer during his recall election in 2005.

Bauer was thrown out of office in September of that year, in part because of his support for a QuikTrip that would have required the use of eminent domain. The 24th Ward is south of Forest Park and includes Dogtown.

Rachel Lippmann/St. Louis Public Radio

Just three weeks after welcoming a new member to its ranks, the St. Louis Board of Aldermen gathered to say goodbye to another one.

Kacie Starr Triplett, the 6th Ward alderwoman, is stepping down to  take a position with the Behavioral Health Network of Greater St. Louis, where she'll coordinate a new initiative looking at gaps for services for the homeless and mentally ill in the region.

Rachel Lippmann/St. Louis Public Radio

On Tuesday, St. Louisans will once again be asked if they want to make a major change to the structure of government in the city.  

Proposition R would cut the size of the Board of Aldermen in half following the next census. The board itself put the measure on the ballot in July, just before taking a break for the summer, and the campaign in the midst of an already crowded election season began in earnest in September.

Official State Photo

State Rep. Chris Carter won a special election on Tuesday to fill the seat left open on the St. Louis Board of Aldermen after his uncle, Alderman Greg Carter, died in a traffic accident two months ago.

Carter said it’s a bitter sweet victory and his first order of business is to tackle what he views as a cycle of joblessness and crime in his ward.  

(Rachel Lippmann/St. Louis Public Radio)

Updated at 1:50 with comments from Mayor Slay.

The long-rumored Democratic rumble for mayor of St. Louis is on. 

Board of Aldermen president Lewis Reed officially threw his hat into the ring today in a press conference at Sqwires in Lafayette Square, part of his ward before he ran for board president.

This campaign is a "mission of change," Reed told his supporters, calling Slay an ineffective leader more interested in photo ops and managing the media than with bringing people together to solve the city's problems.

Lafayette Square, he said, was improved through cooperation. Ineffective leadership has stifled similar efforts citywide.

"We can accept those things that divide us, or we can work toward a common purpose to improve our communities," Reed said. "We can continue to develop reactionary policies, or we can bring the brightest minds together to develop long-term strategies to turn St. Louis into a world-class destination."

Here are some highlights from Reed's announcement:

(Rachel Lippmann/St. Louis Public Radio)

The St. Louis Board of Aldermen took a brief moment on Friday to remember one of its former members.

Gregory Carter died Aug. 1 in a multi-vehicle accident in St. Charles County. Friday's meeting was the first of the board since his death, though many gathered at a community service last month.

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