The St. Louis Board of Aldermen wrapped up its 2019-2020 legislative session Monday with the first virtual meeting in the board’s history.
With City Hall shuttered because of the coronavirus pandemic, and gatherings of more than 10 people banned, aldermen used videoconferencing to conduct business. Though roll calls took a little bit longer than normal, the meeting went off without a major hitch.
“You guys pulled this off,” Board President Lewis Reed said. “This city has a great number of really good legislators, and the Board of Aldermen, you guys do this city proud and this state proud, so I want to thank you for all of your hard work.”
The final meeting of a session can last hours as aldermen maneuver controversial legislation across the finish line. But this year, most major bills, including incentives for a proposed soccer stadium near Union Station, were approved weeks ago.
Aldermen did authorize a new fee that can be charged to the owner of a nuisance building to cover the cost of police escorts when those buildings are boarded up or demolished. They also approved new energy standards that large buildings will have to meet by 2025, and voted to allow people who reserve amenities in city parks to ban anyone from carrying concealed weapons in those areas for the length of the permit.
Efforts to change the structure of the police department failed, as did an attempt to ask voters to reverse the planned reduction of the board from 28 members to 14. Legislation creating paid parental leave for some city employees will be reintroduced next session.
Aldermen return Tuesday to start the 2020-2021 session. The most pressing item will be next year’s budget, which is likely to be millions of dollars out of balance because of coronavirus costs.
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