St. Louis County

(UPI/Bill Greenblatt)

The St. Louis County Council is moving forward with a plan to put a sales tax initiative on the April ballot that would improve county parks, trails and the Arch grounds.

Council Chairman Michael O’Mara introduced a bill at this afternoon's council meeting that would authorize the ballot initiative and says he plans to campaign on its behalf.

Waitscm / Flickr

Tuesday night the St. Louis County Council passed a new ordinance that in part requires contractors have a U.S. Department of Labor approved apprentice program.

That provision drew criticism from some civil rights groups who said it was unfairly pro-union.

“You know there are any number of minority owned contractors who are not union contractors,” said Adolphus Pruitt, president of the St. Louis branch of the NAACP.   “We’ve fought this fight a hundred times about this language and how it excludes them simply because they’re not tied to the union.”

(UPI/Bill Greenblatt)

Supporters of a closer relationship between St. Louis city and county can take heart from a new survey.

The Missouri Council for a Better Economy, a group linked to libertarian billionaire Rex Sinquefield, conducted the survey of 700 voters at the beginning of September. It found that a strong majority of those polled thought some form of unification was worth exploring.

(via Flickr/davidsonscott15)

St. Louis County started construction on a new crime lab this afternoon and police say the facility will speed up processing time.

Department spokesman, Randy Vaughn, says the extra space will also give them the room they need for additional technicians to help take on a backlog of evidence.  

“This is also going to allow a separation of all the different types of forensics, chemistry, biology, our evidence custodians, our firearm custodians,” Vaughn says.  “That is going to make a vast difference in making sure we don’t have any type of contamination issues.”

(via Flickr/taberandrew)

A restraining order that prevents St. Louis County from enforcing a new law that would require banks to offer mediation to homeowners facing foreclosure continues this week.

St. Louis County and bankers are in the midst of a legal battle over whether or not the county has the authority to enforce the ordinance.

No matter what happens in the court case, St. Louis City Mayor Francis Slay says the city should continue to push ahead with a similar law.

(via Flickr/taberandrew)

Casandra Sheperd is about to be evicted from her home in north St. Louis County.

On a recent afternoon, the soft spoken woman with an easy smile is standing in a room with 20 years’ worth of possessions stacked to the ceiling.

“Every box is hard, you know, because everything has a memory,” Sheperd says. “You know, you pack, you stack, you cry, but you keep moving."

Sheperd lost her job at an insurance company a couple of years ago and started getting behind on her mortgage payments.

(via Flickr/taberandrew)

The St. Louis County Council approved additional changes to an ordinance that requires lenders to offer mediation to homeowners on the edge of foreclosure.

The tweaks to the ordinance include removing the right for homeowners to sue lenders after they’ve gone through mediation, and they come in the shadow of an ongoing legal battle with lenders over whether the county even has the authority to enforce the ordinance.

Councilwoman Hazel Erby first introduced the mediation plan and is confident in the county’s case.  

borman818 / Flickr

St. Louis County has new accountants auditing its financial records and they want changes to how officials track extra cash left in bank accounts at the end of the fiscal year.

The county’s Chief Operating Officer Garry Earls says in the past they would consider the leftover money as revenue, but the audit recommends it now be accounted for as an asset.

“There’s a reason accountants have the reputation that they do,” Earls says.  “This is a perfectionism of the system, and I’d tell you outright that it is an asset of the county so we might as well count it as an asset.”

(via Flickr/taberandrew)

The Missouri Bankers Association has filed a lawsuit against St. Louis County over a new ordinance that requires lenders to offer mediation to homeowners facing foreclosure.

The trade group’s president, Max Cook, said they plan to argue that it has a laundry list of legal problems. 

“Not the least of which is statute that says when it comes to banking laws, and rules, and regulation, no entity, be it a county, a city, what have you, can pass an ordinance or a rule more restrictive than that of the state of Missouri,” Cook said.

St. Louis County website

Updated 12:42 p.m. with more details.

The Missouri Bar Association is out with its judicial retention recommendations.

The organization surveys judges, lawyers and jurors every election year to ask whether the state’s judges should be retained by voters in November.

Of the 51 judges evaluated by the Bar, just one – St. Louis County Judge Dale Hood – did not get a retention recommendation. This is the second time Judge Hood has received a sub-par rating from the group of attorneys.

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