St. Louis County

via Flickr | Alex Ford

A new report is criticizing many local governments in the St. Louis area for a lack of transparency.

As documented in the nonprofit organization Better Together's "Transparency Report," the group attempted to obtain basic financial and operational information from dozens of area municipalities that should be publicly accessible under Missouri’s Sunshine Law.

Clockwise from top left, Sister Rose Ann Ficker, Marie Kelly, Chris Kehr and Benjamin T. Allen Sr.
St. Louis Public Radio staff

St. Louis County has 90 municipalities.

It’s a fact we’ve heard casually thrown into news stories over the past few months, with little explanation as to how St. Louis County came to be a hodge-podge of towns. In this episode of We Live Here, we talk to Esley Hamilton, a preservationist for St. Louis County Parks, who explains why there are so many municipalities in the region.

Within this system of municipalities, people are largely divided — white, black, rich and poor. They rarely live next to each other.

Beyond Housing CEO Chris Krehmeyer, left, Normandy Mayor Patrick Green and Cool Valley Mayor Viola Murphy pose for a photo after talking about municipality government with 'St. Louis on the Air' host Don Marsh on Feb. 5, 2015.
Alex Heuer / St. Louis Public Radio

If coalitions can get into schoolyard fights, then they did Thursday afternoon.

For nearly a year, the Better Together coalition has explored whether St. Louis and St. Louis County should consider merging services. Within St. Louis County, some believe there also is a need for consolidation: Sen. Jamilah Nasheed, D-St. Louis, has introduced a bill that would eliminate some of St. Louis County's smaller municipalities.

Beyond Housing CEO Chris Krehmeyer, left, Normandy Mayor Patrick Green and Cool Valley Mayor Viola Murphy pose for a photo after talking about municipality government with 'St. Louis on the Air' host Don Marsh on Feb. 5, 2015.
Alex Heuer / St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis and its municipalities have come under fire after the August shooting death of Michael Brown in Ferguson. While some are calling for consolidation, local leaders say there’s a reason the municipalities exist.

St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger delivers his inaugural address on Jan. 1, 2015. Stenger is coming into office with an ambitious agenda to change St. Louis County government -- and the legislative alliances to help him out.
File photo by Bill Greenblatt | UPI

St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger won’t have a direct role in picking the replacement for St. Louis Economic Development Partnership CEO Denny Coleman. 

But with an eye toward a more aggressive economic development strategy, Stenger says he wants Coleman’s successor to be assertive in seeking out new opportunities.

Greendale Mayor Monica Huddleston, center, and Cool Valley Mayor Viola Murphy, right, converse during last Tuesday's St. Louis County Council meeting. Murphy and Huddleston have pushed back against the movement to disincorporate St. Louis County towns --
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

Minutes before he took the oath of office, St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger waded into the thorny thicket that is municipal consolidation. 

Steve Stenger holds his baby girl Madeline Jane as wife Allison looks on while taking the oath as the new St. Louis County Executive in Clayton, Missouri. Federal Judge Ronnie White administered the oath to Stenger.
Bill Greenblatt, UPI

With his county still coming to grips with the tumultuous aftermath of Michael Brown’s death, Steve Stenger was officially sworn in Thursday as St. Louis County executive.

Flanked by his wife Allison and holding his daughter Madeline, the Affton Democrat became the eighth county executive in St. Louis County’s history. He said during his two-page inaugural address that business as usual in the county was over.

Rep. Sue Allen, R-Town and Country
Jason Rosenbaum, St. Louis Public Radio

On this week’s edition of Politically Speaking, St. Louis Public Radio reporters Jason Rosenbaum and Jo Mannies welcome state Rep. Sue Allen to the show for the first time. (The show’s pre-eminent host, St. Louis Public Radio’s Chris McDaniel, is taking it easy after battling an illness.)  

Councilwoman Colleen Wasinger speaks with a member of the St. Louis County Police Department on Tuesday. The council approved transferring money from the county emergency fund to pay for police overtime accrued during the Ferguson unrest.
Jason Rosenbaum, St. Louis Public Radio

The St. Louis County Council approved a measure on Wednesday transferring several million dollars to the county police department for its work during nearly four months of protests over Michael Brown’s shooting death. 

The total transferred from the county’s emergency fund came to approximately $3.4 million. More than $2.5 million of that would pay for overtime officers accrued during the aftermath of Michael Brown’s shooting death. The rest of the money would go toward supplies, food and clothing. 

Rachel Lippmann/St. Louis Public Radio

It's home to just 822 residents living on 69 acres, but the city of Flordell Hills is getting its own police department. 

The St. Louis County suburb's contract with its slightly larger neighbor, Country Club Hills, expires at midnight Tuesday. Some of Flordell Hills' six officers had already been patrolling the streets of the town, which sits between Jennings Station and West Florissant roads.

Parth Shah | St. Louis Public Radio

Republican Rick Stream says he’s aiming his first and only TV ad for St. Louis County executive at fellow Republicans, not his rivals, in an effort to discourage GOP voters from participating next Tuesday in the Democratic primary.

“We wanted Republicans to get the idea that we have a solid, viable candidate,’’ said Stream about his ad, which began airing Tuesday.

(Campaign Photos)

St. Louis County Executive Charlie Dooley and his chief Democratic rival, Councilman Steve Stenger, agree on two things: Each says his attack ads are accurate and the other guy’s are not.

The two defended their accusations during separate, back-to-back appearances today with host Don Marsh on St. Louis Public Radio’s "St. Louis On the Air."  The sparring over ads reflected another common consensus: Their Aug. 5 primary contest will get even nastier.

The two ads in question attempt to link Stenger to sex trafficking and Dooley to FBI investigations.

/ Jason Rosenbaum, St. Louis Public Radio

It's being billed as another way to spur economic development in the region.

St. Louis County and the Metropolitan St. Louis Sewer District announced Wednesday a new agreement to share software that will track and manage construction permits.

Officials from the two entities said having one system for permitting will be more cost-effective for both governmental agencies. It will also speed up the process for those seeking permits.

Speed is important when businesses are choosing between cities, said Joe Reagan, president and CEO of the St. Louis Regional Chamber.

/ Jason Rosenbaum, St. Louis Public Radio

(Updated on Wednesday at 4 p.m.)

The mayor of Chesterfield is sticking by his threat for his city to secede from St. Louis County, contending that his city is fed up with a lack of progress on changing the county’s sales tax distribution system. 

But St. Louis County Executive Charlie Dooley has dismissed the threat, calling Chesterfield Mayor Bob Nation’s comments “over the top.”

Jason Rosenbaum/St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis County Councilwoman Kathleen Kelly Burkett has died at the age of 68. 

Burkett, D-Overland, was diagnosed with cancer last year while serving as chairwoman of the St. Louis County Council. She continued to serve as a councilwoman while undergoing chemotherapy, but she had been absent from meetings the past few weeks.

In a statement Sunday, St. Louis County Executive Charlie Dooley praised Burkett as someone who “took care of her constituents like they were her own family.”

Jason Rosenbaum, St. Louis Public Radio

In some strange, alternate universe, St. Louis County Assessor Jake Zimmerman would be running for a third term on the St. Louis County Council. 

Back in the mid-2000s, the Olivette Democrat seemed to be on a collision course with Barbara Fraser, a fellow Democrat, for the 5th District council seat. But the two agreed on a deal: Fraser would run for county council while Zimmerman would run for Fraser's spot in the Missouri House.

St. Louis County Assessor's Office

The St. Louis County Assessor’s Office will undertake a review of all tax-exempt properties in the county to confirm their owners still qualify for the tax break.

Exemptions have been granted to thousands of non-profit groups because their properties are used for charitable, religious or educational purposes, but some of them no longer qualify, said County Assessor Jake Zimmerman.

(Rachel Lippmann/St. Louis Public Radio and the Beacon)

This winter, St. Louis County did something it hadn't done before - it opened a temporary shelter where homeless men and women could go to get out of the cold. It's a small piece of a 10-year plan to battle homelessness that St. Louis City and County signed onto in 2004. But obstacles remain to implementing the rest of the ideas in that document.

What is "homelessness?"

Flickr | alancleaver_2000

Crime in the parts of St. Louis County covered by the county’s police department dropped 7.4 percent between 2012 and 2013, according to numbers released by the department today.

This is the fifth straight year for a decrease - something St. Louis County Chief of Police Tim Fitch called a "great accomplishment."  The latest figures bring the total level of crime to its lowest point since 1969.

Jason Rosenbaum/St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis County Councilman Steve Stenger wants the county’s second-in-command to resign. 

Stenger, D-Affton, said on Tuesday that Chief Operating Officer Garry Earls should be held accountable for, among other things, fraud in the county’s health department.

(UPI/Bill Greenblatt)

Updated at 5:50 p.m. Monday with information from latest city briefing

The U.S. Department of Defense has included an order of 16 F/A 18 Super Hornets in their budget for the next two years.
(via Boeing)

Boeing has been on the minds of the Show-Me State's political figures lately, thanks to the effort to lure the manufacturing of the 777X airplane to Missouri.  Now, the company is planning to bring several hundred research and development jobs to the St. Louis region. 

The U.S. Department of Defense has included an order of 16 F/A 18 Super Hornets in their budget for the next two years.
(via Boeing)

With the effort to lure Boeing’s 777X on the minds of the Show Me State’s political figures, the company is planning to bring several hundred research and development jobs to the St. Louis region. 

    

(via Flickr/smcg2011)

A St. Louis County judge ordered St. Louis County to pay nearly $6 million to three trash haulers who lost contracts after the county established trash districts. 

But St. Louis County Executive Charlie Dooley’s administration indicated that the county may appeal the judge's order.

(via Flickr/steakpinball)

Updated at 1:15 p.m. with further comment from the ACLU.

Updated at 12:05 p.m. with quotes from court administrator Paul Fox.

The U.S. Department of Justice is investigating whether the St. Louis County family court is treating all of the children who appear in front of its judges equally.

The department's Civil Rights Division is specifically looking at whether the court is providing due process to children involved in delinquency proceedings, and if all children are treated equally regardless of race.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon. - Standard & Poor’s has informed St. Louis County that it has lost its AAA bond rating, a move that could prompt higher interest costs for the county in any bond issue – and force County Executive Charlie Dooley to drop any reference to the old rating in his campaign literature.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon. - St. Louis County Executive Charile Dooley's new budget includes another round of raises for county employees and a slew of capital improvement projects for parks.

With no major cuts on the horizon, at least two members of the St. Louis County Council expect this year's budgetary process to be relatively uneventful.

St. Louis County councilman Steve Stenger, left, shakes hands with St. Louis County Prosecutor Bob McCulloch after announcing he is in the race for St. Louis county executive.
Bill Greenblatt | UPI | 2013

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney Bob McCulloch isn’t running for county executive, but his words could have signaled otherwise Tuesday as he presented a scathing critique of County Executive Charlie Dooley, a fellow Democrat – and a call for him to be replaced by County Councilman Steve Stenger.

At Stenger’s rousing kickoff in Clayton, McCulloch blasted what he called “the total destruction of the reputation and integrity of county government’’ under Dooley’s watch.

Chris McDaniel, St. Louis Public Radio.

St. Louis County Executive Charlie Dooley officially has a challenger in next year’s Democratic primary: St. Louis County Councilman Steve Stenger.

Stenger said he decided to run after a string of controversies in the county.

“We’ve seen, you know, in the health department alone, basically $3 million walking out the door for a phony company,” Stenger said in front of union members and other supporters.

“Well that’s $3 million right there. Over the years, we’ve had quite literally millions upon millions of dollars of fat that has been wasted by the executive branch.”

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: St. Louis County Council member Steve Stenger, D-Affton, is expected to declare on Tuesday his plans to challenge St. Louis County Executive Charlie Dooley, a fellow Democrat, in 2014.

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