Legislation that sheds more light on how STL County spends Prop P funds passes

The St. Louis County Council on Tuesday passed a bill that would clear up how Proposition P money would be used.

Councilman Mark Harder said the bill is designed to answer St. Louis County resident’s questions on where Prop P is going and to add transparency to the process.

“It’s very important from a transparency standpoint. We’ve had many calls and people at our meetings asking how the Prop P money will be spent and we want to make sure it’s spent in the right place,” Harder said. “This bill will set up a line item on the revenue side of the budget for Prop P that way it won’t be bumped into sales tax, it’ll be sales tax and a subcategory will be Prop P.”

Councilman Mark Harder

The legislation was passed with five yes votes, with Councilmembers Hazel Erby and Rochelle Walton Gray abstaining.

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.

According to Harder, the new bill would create a web portal on the St. Louis County website where residents can see how the money comes in and eventually how it’s spent.

“It sets up a portal on our St. Louis County website that allows you to look at that as the money comes in. The other side of this on the expense side is eventually you’ll be able to see how it’s spent,” he said. “Are we spending it on body cameras, on salaries, on cars? It will answer where it is going specifically.”

The portal, according to Harder, will be set up as part of the budget process which started in November.

Additionally, Harder added that with the new legislation, he hopes St. Louis County citizens will have more confidence now that they see where that the Prop P money is being spent.

“This will hopefully build confidence in County government that people will be able to see where this money is going, both on the income side and the outflow [of the revenue].”

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