Clayton Mayor Harold Sanger started Tuesday’s Board of Aldermen meeting by saying just five months ago, he responded to the vandalism and desecration of a Jewish Cemetery in University City, and that the events in Charlottesville has “forced us to restate unequivocally that there is no place in our state” for hate and violence. He called the KKK and their ilk despicable, gave reverence to those who fought wars against fascism, and said, “We denounce them and their purpose.”
The board took up and approved several items, including consolidating plats that will be the grounds of Centene’s construction to expand, and a liquor license for Matt McGuire’s newest restaurant venture, Louis Demun, 706 Demun Ave., which McGuire told the board should be ready to open in about a month.
Mayor Sanger joked that he’ll approve the license as long as they serve one of his favorites from a restaurant previously run by McGuire, King Louie’s.
City Manager Craig Owens gave the rundown of property tax levy rates, which will generate $6.2 million this year — $50,000 than last year. The board is expected to take the matter up for a second reading Sept. 12, at its next meeting.
Alderman Alex Berger III told the board he wants to see more oversight of the budget, perhaps monthly, to ensure transparency and attention to revenues and spending.
“We need an ongoing study of revenue source, revenue stream, and revenues are lower than last year, but our expenses are going up 6 to 8 percent,” he said. “We have to look at what we’re going to do with revenue going forward. I don’t expect expenses to go down.”
Other matters discussed by the Board included:
- A $7 million dollar grant application though the County Parks department, which would go toward operating costs at the Shaw Park Ice Rink for two years.
- Residential resurfacing: Hillcrest should be finalized Wednesday, but utility installation is causing a delay in the Morelands.
- A call for RFPs from consultants throughout the U.S. to look at Clayton Police operations.
- Social media and the the Police Department’s ongoing efforts to use social media sites such as Nextdoor to keep residents aware of criminal activity in their neighborhoods.
- Police Chief Kevin Murphy’s involvement in a program that brings at-risk youth and police together for an after school program.
- Backyard chickens and the potential for the spread of salmonella.
- The Arch Park Foundation’s use of marketing, and how the $1.73 billion dollar renovation is already boosting nearby hotels, restaurants, and other Downtown St. Louis attractions.
- Pension plans for city staff and uniformed employees were reviewed at meetings last week. Alderman Berger said, “We continue to exceed our goals on an annual basis; there will be some meetings with the board sometime in the future.”