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Soccer, public safety and school funding highlight municipal elections

Voters cast electronic ballots at Central Baptist Church in St. Louis on Nov. 8, 2016.
File photo | Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio
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Voters across the St. Louis region are headed to the polls Tuesday for high-stakes ballot items.

It’s Election Day in the St. Louis region, where voters will decide on a number of high-stakes issues.

Polls are open in Missouri and Illinois from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. Election officials in St. Louis and St. Louis County said no problems had been reported at polling stations by midday, and that turnout was light.

You can read all of St. Louis Public Radio’s coverage of the April elections by clicking here. And now, a rundown of what’s on the ballot:

 

 

St. Louis

SC STL's Jim Kavanaugh will likely stump for two propositions crucial toward publicly funding a professional soccer stadium.

SC STL's Jim Kavanaugh will likely stump for two propositions crucial toward publicly funding a professional soccer stadium.
Credit File photo | Carolina Hidalgo I St. Louis Public Radio
SC STL's Jim Kavanaugh is banking on St. Louis voters approving two propositions that will fund a proposed Major League Soccer stadium.

For the first time in 16 years, St. Louis voters will choose a new mayor to lead the city. Democrat Lyda Krewson is squaring off against Republican Andrew Jones, as well independent candidates Tyrone Austin and the Rev. Larry Rice, Green Party candidate Johnathan McFarland and Libertarian candidate Robb Cunningham.

Residents in more than half of the city’s wards will also choose Board of Aldermen members.

St. Louis voters also must decide on a host of ballot measures, including two propositions critical to building a publicly funded Major League Soccer stadium.

Proposition 1 would raise the city’s sales tax by a half-cent, with the proceeds going toward light rail expansion, public safety equipment and neighborhood development programs. If Proposition 1 passes, it would raise the use tax businesses pay on out-of-state purchases. Proposition 2 would direct that use take increase toward the stadium.

City residents will be asked to vote on a bond issue aimed at rehabbing vacant buildings, as well as a ballot item that would merge the recorder of deeds with the assessor’s office. They’ll also choose whether to move municipal primaries from March to August and general elections from April to November.

 

 

St. Louis County

Ferguson Mayor James Knowles chats with a supporter ahead of canvassing; Councilwoman Ella Jones greets people at a restaurant. On Monday, March 27, Knowles and Jones will participate in a mayoral forum ahead of the April 4 election.
Credit Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio
Ferguson Mayor James Knowles chats with a supporter ahead of canvassing; Councilwoman Ella Jones greets people at a restaurant.

Law enforcement officials are banking on approval of a half-cent sales tax increase to hire more officers and purchase body cameras for the county police department. The measure, known as Proposition P, would also direct more money to municipal police agencies based on their population.

 

Numerous towns are holding mayoral and city council elections, including Ferguson, where incumbent Mayor James Knowles III is vying for a third term against Councilwoman Ella Jones. Jones is aiming to become the city's first African-American mayor.

 

 

Schools

 

The St. Louis Public Schools elected board discusses business during its June meeting as state board of education member Vic Lenz looks on.
Credit File photo | Camille Phillips | St. Louis Public Radio
Voters will choose three members for the St. Louis Public School Board.

 

School districts across the region are asking for tax increases and bond approvals to send more money into classrooms.

 

In Illinois, residents of St. Clair and Madison counties are choosing whether to raise sales taxes to help school districts. Voters in the Normandy and Rockwood school districts in St. Louis County will decide on bond issues to refurbish classrooms.  

 

Seven candidates filed for three open seats on the St. Louis Public School Board. One of the candidates is incumbent board member Bill Monroe. The president of the SLPS board and some state-level education officials see his continued presence as a possible disruption in getting back local control.

 

Follow Jason on Twitter: @jrosenbaum

Send questions and comments about this story to feedback@stlpublicradio.org.