Stenger proposes Prop P budget and financial plan to County Council

St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger’s office proposed to the St. Louis County Council on Thursday their ideas on how Proposition P funds would be allocated for next year in the county.

Steve Stenger

According to Stenger, the proposed 2018 St. Louis County budget, submitted on Wednesday listed specific allocations for certain initiatives which are funded by Proposition P:

  • Police Department Pay Increases ($18,617,956)
  • Additional Police Officers ($9,931,912)
  • Police Training ($1,00,000)
  • Body Camera Program ($623,632)
  • Juvenile Treatment Services ($114,263)
  • Justice Services Pay Increases ($2,462,340)

Proposition P is a half-cent sales tax that’s expected to generate $80 million a year for public safety. It was passed this April with sixty-three percent of St. Louis County voters voting in favor of the tax.

Stenger thanked the voters of St. Louis County for their continued support for their area’s police officers and reiterated the need for additional police services for public safety.

“Our new police pay scale helps ensure we will be able to attract and retain the best and the brightest new and experienced officers,” Stenger said in a written statement. “In addition to hiring 114 new officers, the funding from Prop P will allow our department to invest in several community policing initiatives, including two officers to a car, conflict resolution training, and expansion of our Police Athletic League Program.”

The county executive established an online accountability portal in 2015 to allow residents to track expenditures in real-time, including Proposition P funds.

“We promised voters that the Prop P money will be used only for law enforcement and public safety and this budget illustrates just that,” Stenger said.

All Prop P expenditures detailed in the 2018 budget are pending County Council approval.

But this isn’t the first time St. Louis County residents have heard Proposition P news this week.

At the St. Louis County Council meeting on Tuesday, an ordinance was passed that would raise the income for St. Louis County Police Department personnel by almost 30 percent.

The wage increase will go into effect on Jan. 1, 2018.

The police wage increase would come from Proposition P tax with approximately $19 million of the tax money going towards the increase in salary for county police.

The ordinance also included a substitution bill that requires 15 percent of the Proposition P money to be set aside for pensions, requested by Councilman Sam Page.

After the ordinance was passed on Tuesday, Page said it was a precautionary step to avoid having pension problems in the future.

“Nothing changed my mind, I was always for the bill,” Page said. “But what I insisted on was some sort of lock box to place some of the Proposition P money be saved for the increased liability of pension benefits and until I saw an ordinance I was concerned. I was always for the pay raises and as you can see the council approved them unanimously without much discussion. But I did feel strongly about the pension piece of this as well.”

To see the details of the Proposition P allocations, click here.

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