2016 may be the most important year in recent history for voters. Big decisions will be made and not just in November. April 5's Municipal General Election will have many propositions that would greatly affect the City of St. Louis, its residents, and all who work or visit our city. Please take the time to not only vote, but be informed.
Below is text from the sample ballot on each prop and the summary is taken from Vote411.org.
Shall the earnings tax of 1%, imposed by the City of St. Louis, be continued for a period of five (5) years commencing January 1 immediately following the date of this election?
Summary: The proposition would allow the city to continue its one percent earnings tax until 2021. A 2010 state law requires the city to have a referendum on the earnings tax every five years. The tax, which applies to people who live or work in the city, pays for about a third of the city's annual operating budget. Proponents say eliminating the earnings tax without a way to replace the revenue would cripple the city. Opponents say the tax spurs residents and companies to leave the city.
Please click here to review a PDF created by the City that outlines the Earning Tax, what it does, and what may happen if it's lost.
Shall the following be adopted: Proposition to issue bonds of the City of St. Louis, Missouri, in an amount not to exceed Twenty-Five Million Dollars ($25,000,000) for the purpose of purchasing, replacing, improving, and maintaining the buildings, bridges, and equipment of the City of St. Louis, including (1) acquiring fire trucks, ambulances, personal protective equipment, and other fire-fighting apparatus for the St. Louis Fire Department; (2) acquiring refuse trucks for the Refuse Department; (3) updating computer hardware and software for City departments; (4) providing match share funds to repair, renovate, and replace bridges; (5) renovating recreation centers, buildings, and facilities owned by the City of St. Louis; and (6) for expenses associated with the issuance of the bonds. If this proposition is approved, the property tax levy is estimated to remain unchanged.
Summary: The city wants to borrow up to $25 million to cover what officials say are critical capital needs in the Fire Department and other agencies. The bond issue would not trigger a property tax increase. The plan would pay for buying new fire trucks, ambulances, refuse trucks and other equipment, upgrading city recreation centers, repairing and replacing bridges and updating computer systems.
School Tax Election: City of St. Louis, State of Missouri
Shall the Special Administrative Board of the Transitional School District of the City of St. Louis be authorized to increase the operating tax levy of the District by $0.75 per $100 of assessed valuation to continue offering early childhood education, to expand character and alternative education options, to improve safety and security equipment and personnel, and to offer competitive salaries to teachers and staff? If this proposition is approved, the adjusted operating tax levy of the District is estimated to be $4.50 per $100 of assessed valuation.
Summary: The proposition would increase the school district's property tax rate by 75 cents per $100 of assessed valuation. The tax on a home worth $75,000 would increase by about $107 a year. Some of the revenue would be used to continue 31 pre-school classrooms now funded by desegregation funds set to run out in 2018. The added revenue also would increase teacher pay to reduce high turnover, upgrade security in school buildings and add character education programs in an effort to reduce suspensions. Supporters say the city schools have made steady significant progress both financially and academically over the last seven years. Opponents say the measure doesn't go far enough to address salary upgrades and other needs.
Bond Election: The Metropolitan St. Louis Sewer District
To comply with federal and state clean water requirements, shall The Metropolitan St. Louis Sewer District (MSD) issue its sewer revenue bonds in the amount of Nine Hundred Million Dollars ($900,000,000) for the purpose of designing, constructing, improving, renovating, repairing, replacing and equipping new and existing MSD sewer and drainage facilities and systems, including sewage treatment and disposal plants, sanitary sewers, and acquisition of easements and real property related thereto, the cost of operation and maintenance of said facilities and systems and the principal of and interest on said revenue bonds to be payable solely from the revenues derived by MSD from the operation of its waste water sewer system, including all future extensions and improvements thereto?
Summary: If passed, the sewer district would sell $900 million in bonds to spread out the cost of waste water improvements to carry out a 2012 federal court consent decree reached with the federal government. To pay off the bonds, the average monthly residential sewer bill would increase by about 11 percent a year, from $40.72 now to $60.44 by 2020. Rates would rise further, to an average of over $100 a month, sometime between 2020 and 2030. If the proposition is rejected by voters, the district would fund the entire cost of the improvements in the next four years and short-term rate hikes would be steeper - bringing the average monthly bill to $95.13 in 2020.
The Metropolitan St. Louis Sewer District
Shall the Metropolitan St. Louis Sewer District (MSD) impose a Storm water Operations and Maintenance property tax upon all real and tangible personal property within the district at a rate of not more than Ten Cents ($0.10) per One Hundred Dollars ($100.00) assessed valuation for the purpose of providing revenue for the operations of the district's storm water utility, including storm water system operation and maintenance, rehabilitation and limited construction of infrastructure and other capital improvements, and an operating reserve? If this proposition is approved, MSD will repeal (a) the existing storm water operations and maintenance property tax of approximately Seven Cents ($0.07) per One Hundred Dollars ($100.00) assessed valuation that is imposed on property within the original boundaries of MSD, as defined in the MSD Charter, and within the annexed areas described in MSD Ordinance No. 3753, and (b) the existing monthly 24-Cent or 18-Cent storm water service charge that is imposed on each MSD customer account. As a result, a uniform district wide storm water revenue system for operations, maintenance, and limited capital improvements will be in place.
Summary: The proposition would create a uniform structure for stormwater maintenance service and taxes, resulting in higher taxes in some areas and lower taxes in others. Now MSD customers pay different taxes and fees and get different levels of stormwater service, based on their location. The proposition would establish a district wide property tax of 12 cents per $100 assessed valuation. Now the property tax rate for MSD ranges from 2 to 19 cents. The proposition also would eliminate a stormwater fee of 18 or 24 cents on monthly MSD bills. As a result of the changes, the annual stormwater tax for St. Louis County residents generally living beyond Interstate 270 would increase by an average of $47.42. Stormwater taxes for county residents generally between I-270 and Interstate 170 plus those in some areas of North County north of I-270 would fall by an average of $22.63. In St. Louis and small parts of some adjacent inner suburbs, the stormwater tax would increase by an average of 72 cents.
BOARD OF ELECTION COMMISSIONERS FOR THE CITY OF ST. LOUIS