County voters say they were misled, urge elected officials to spend Prop P money on police as promised

Sixty-three percent of St. Louis County voters voted in favor of Proposition P this April, a half-cent sales tax that’s expected to generate $80 million a year for public safety.

County Executive Steve Stenger and County Police Chief Jon Belmar backed the issue, saying it would bolster the police department and resources where they have been sorely needed.

Belmar had asked the county council for the past three years for an additional 120 officers to strengthen the county’s 800-officer police force.

He said those additional officers would allow for two-person cars responding to 911 calls, increased safety the officers, and proactive enforcement.

Belmar also pointed to an increase in aggravated assault crimes, more cyber crimes, and an uptick in homicides in recent years.

However, now that some municipalities are seeing funds be redirected to other avenues, such as road work, residents are saying that’s not what they voted for.

Several turned out to challenge elected officials on the matter and push for transparency in the process of spending those funds.

Ben Senturia of University City was among them.

“County Executive Stenger urges all county officials to spend Proposition P tax funds as they were intended; to do otherwise would violate the law as well as the trust of county residents, who voted overwhelmingly to pass this proposition,” Senturia told the council. “That doesn’t help. In fact, the law and the source of its wording is the source of the problem. If we wanted to keep the trust of county residents, so they’d be willing to support future funding proposals, then the key question is: What did the electorate understand and intend when they voted for Proposition P? To that end, the challenge for elected officials of the county and municipalities, is to ask the voters in each jurisdiction what they intended in voting for police and public safety, and then develop a plan consistent with that intent, and to be transparent in that process.”

Crestwood resident Jennifer Byrd called it “stool-sample legislation, — you have to pass it to see what’s in it.”

“I guess I’m one of those people that don’t trust my government,” she told the council, “and given the history, it looks like I’m on the right track.

Byrd said policy makers are stretching the definition of public safety when it comes to using these funds.

“I take issue with that,” she said. “It’s a shame that things worked out the way that they did and my initial distrust with the measure was that the county stood to gain more than five times than what was stated as needed for (police) raises and updated equipment and so on and so forth. It looks like another big scoop out of the trough — out of my trough and our trough — because the people who are hurt worst and first in any sales tax situation are anyone on a fixed income, the elderly, the disabled, and the poor.”

She alluded to the future possibility of a city-county merger, and fears that once again, voters will not be privy to the full scope of the deal.

“I won’t sign a blank mortgage,” she said. 

In April, Chief Belmar said pay raises for officers would also aid in retention.

“It’s probably typical for us to lose an officer a week over a year period, and that’s not alarming considering the number of police officers we have,” he said. “However, what we’ve noticed recently is that we’re getting into that range where we’re losing 1.5 or 1.6 officers a week, and we have to pay attention to those numbers.”

While it is a tax, he said, it is an investment.

“If I’m a taxpayer, the first thing I want to look at is, ‘What will Prop P do for me? I want to know that I will have more policemen on the street.’”

Belmar also said a strong police force leads to safer communities, which lends to a vibrant economy.

Earlier in the week, residents voiced their concerns about how the money was being spent at a Chesterfield City work session. One of those speaking out against using Prop P funds for anything other than public safety was Elizabeth Snyder, widow of County Police Officer Blake Snyder, who was killed on duty after being shot in South St. Louis County last October.

72 thoughts on “County voters say they were misled, urge elected officials to spend Prop P money on police as promised

  1. Hi there terrific blog! Does running a blog like this take a massive amount work?
    I’ve no understanding of computer programming however I was hoping to start my own blog in the
    near future. Anyhow, should you have any suggestions or tips for new blog owners please share.

    I know this is off topic however I simply needed to ask.


  2. My partner and I stumbled over here coming from a different web
    page and thought I might as well check things out.

    I like what I see so now i am following you. Look forward to looking over your
    web page for a second time.

  3. Hmm is anyone else having problems with the pictures on this blog loading?
    I’m trying to find out if its a problem on my end or if
    it’s the blog. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

  4. I do not even know how I ended up here, but I thought this post was good.

    I don’t know who you are but definitely you are going
    to a famous blogger if you aren’t already 😉 Cheers!

  5. Having read this I thought it was really informative.
    I appreciate you spending some time and energy to put this information together.
    I once again find myself spending way too much time both reading and posting comments.
    But so what, it was still worthwhile!

  6. I do consider all the ideas you’ve introduced in your post.
    They’re very convincing and can definitely work.

    Nonetheless, the posts are very brief for newbies. May you
    please prolong them a little from next time? Thanks for the post.

  7. My coder is trying to persuade me to move to .net
    from PHP. I have always disliked the idea because of the expenses.
    But he’s tryiong none the less. I’ve been using
    WordPress on several websites for about a year and am nervous about switching to another platform.
    I have heard great things about Is there a way
    I can transfer all my wordpress content into it? Any kind
    of help would be really appreciated!

  8. I blog frequently and I genuinely thank you for your content.
    This great article has truly peaked my interest. I’m going to take a note of your
    site and keep checking for new details about once per
    week. I opted in for your RSS feed too.

  9. Wow, wonderful blog layout! How long have you been blogging for?
    you make blogging look easy. The overall look of your website is magnificent, as well as the content!

  10. Attractive section of content. I just stumbled upon your website and in accession capital to assert that I acquire actually enjoyed account your blog posts.

    Anyway I’ll be subscribing to your augment and even I
    achievement you access consistently fast.

  11. Have you ever considered publishing an e-book or guest authoring on other
    sites? I have a blog based on the same information you
    discuss and would really like to have you share some stories/information. I know my subscribers would enjoy your work.
    If you’re even remotely interested, feel free to shoot me an e mail.

  12. Hello there! This is my first visit to your blog! We are a collection of volunteers and starting
    a new initiative in a community in the same niche. Your blog provided us beneficial information to work on. You
    have done a wonderful job!

  13. Heya are using WordPress for your site platform? I’m new to the
    blog world but I’m trying to get started and create my own. Do
    you need any html coding knowledge to make your own blog?
    Any help would be really appreciated!

  14. Hello this is kinda of off topic but I was wondering if blogs
    use WYSIWYG editors or if you have to manually code with HTML.
    I’m starting a blog soon but have no coding knowledge so I wanted to get advice from
    someone with experience. Any help would be enormously

  15. Usually I don’t learn article on blogs, but I would like to
    say that this write-up very pressured me to try and do
    so! Your writing style has been amazed me.
    Thank you, quite great post.

  16. Its like you read my thoughts! You appear to grasp so
    much approximately this, such as you wrote the guide
    in it or something. I feel that you could do with a few % to drive the message home a
    bit, but other than that, this is fantastic blog. An excellent read.
    I’ll certainly be back.

  17. It’s not my first time to go to see this web page, i am browsing this web site dailly and
    get nice information from here all the time.

  18. Hello! This is kind of off topic but I need some guidance from an established
    blog. Is it very difficult to set up your own blog? I’m not very
    techincal but I can figure things out pretty fast.
    I’m thinking about creating my own but I’m not sure where to begin. Do you have any tips or
    suggestions? Many thanks

  19. Woah! I’m really digging the template/theme of this site.

    It’s simple, yet effective. A lot of times it’s challenging to get that
    “perfect balance” between usability and visual appearance.
    I must say you’ve done a excellent job with this. Also, the blog loads
    super fast for me on Firefox. Superb Blog!

  20. excellent submit, very informative. I wonder why the opposite
    specialists of this sector don’t realize this. You should
    proceed your writing. I am confident, you have a great readers’ base already!

  21. Wonderful blog! I found it while searching on Yahoo
    News. Do you have any tips on how to get listed in Yahoo News?
    I’ve been trying for a while but I never seem to get there!
    Thank you

  22. Appreciating the time and energy you put into your blog and detailed information you provide.
    It’s awesome to come across a blog every once in a while that
    isn’t the same out of date rehashed information. Fantastic
    read! I’ve saved your site and I’m adding your RSS feeds to my Google account.

  23. What’s up every one, here every person is sharing these know-how, therefore it’s nice to read this blog, and
    I used to go to see this web site all the time.

  24. We’re a group of volunteers and starting a new scheme in our community.
    Your web site provided us with valuable info to work on. You’ve done
    a formidable job and our whole community will be thankful to you.

  25. Thanks a bunch for sharing this with all folks you really understand what you’re talking
    about! Bookmarked. Please additionally consult with my web site =).
    We may have a hyperlink alternate contract among us

  26. You really make it seem so easy with your presentation but I find
    this topic to be really something which I think I would never understand.
    It seems too complicated and extremely broad for me.
    I’m looking forward for your next post, I’ll try to get the hang
    of it!

  27. It’s a pity you don’t have a donate button! I’d certainly donate to this superb blog!

    I guess for now i’ll settle for bookmarking and adding your RSS
    feed to my Google account. I look forward to brand new updates
    and will talk about this blog with my Facebook group.

    Chat soon!

  28. What’s up, this weekend is pleasant designed for me, since this point in time i am reading
    this enormous informative paragraph here at my house.

  29. Having read this I believed it was extremely enlightening.

    I appreciate you taking the time and energy
    to put this short article together. I once again find myself personally spending a significant amount of time both reading and posting comments.
    But so what, it was still worth it!

  30. Greetings from Idaho! I’m bored to tears at work so I decided to browse your blog on my iphone during lunch break.
    I really like the information you provide here and can’t wait to take a look when I get home.
    I’m surprised at how quick your blog loaded on my mobile ..

    I’m not even using WIFI, just 3G .. Anyhow, good

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.