Councilman Sam Page released a letter late last week attacking the county executive for targeting certain county council members who didn’t vote his way and ending support for previously agreed upon projects.
In a recent letter obtained by KMOX, Page accused Stenger with attempting to oust Councilman Ernie Trakas from his position, issuing budgetary diversions to slice the council’s funding, and ending support for projects that he originally agreed on with certain council members once they voted to make cuts to his 2018 budget spending plan.
According to the letter, Page said the County Council will not stand for political threats or retribution.
“This year, we will be seeking far-reaching systemic reforms to improve accountability and transparency in county government.” Page’s letter said. “We want to correct the system so that it is fully accountable to the taxpayers and residents of St. Louis County — and not a playground for your petty politics.”
The catalyst for Page’s letter stems from when Stenger used an executive order to reduce $500,000 in spending that the St. Louis County Council approved late last year.
The appropriation that’s being reduced was a $500,000 increase to the St. Louis County Council’s own budget.
Stenger announced the change in January on KMOX’s Mark Reardon show, stating that he had the authority under the county charter to move line-item spending and that he was moving the money back into reserve accounts.
Because of this, Stenger said, the County Council would not be able to block the money transfer into the county’s reserve accounts.
Stenger stated it was unfair for the council to raise its own budget while it simultaneously cuts $31 million within the county.
“It really is a matter of fairness and I think that the council should be held at the same standard of the rest of county government,” Stenger said. “It was odd to see them cut across the board and then give themselves such an increase. They increased by three times as much as they cut.”
During the budget process in December, the St. Louis County Council voted to reduce $31 million from Stenger’s budget proposal.