ST. LOUIS — City aldermen voted unanimously Friday to seek voter approval to sell up to $50 million in capital improvement bonds in future years.
The measure, which is expected to pass on April 5, could provide local matching funds for some federal grants — including those put in place as part of the five-year, $1.2 trillion infrastructure relief plan passed. by Congress last year.
Money from the bond issue could help fund projects like a new 911 dispatch center, improving the city jail downtown, resurfacing streets, creating trails walking and cycling paths and the renovation or replacement of fire stations and recreation centres.
The plan would not trigger a property tax increase and would be funded using the city’s current tax rate as existing bonds are paid off.
But if the bond issue fails, a gradual reduction in property taxes could result – up to 7 cents for every $100 of property assessment.
In addition to providing local matching funds, city officials say the bill would allow the city to begin design work ahead of future federal assistance and secure construction materials in an effort to mitigate project delays due to supply chain issues.
Money from the bond issue would be in addition to hundreds of millions of dollars in federal aid and Rams settlement money already directed to the city in the coming years.
Gary Stoff, director of the city’s electoral board, said the measure requires the approval of a two-thirds majority of voters to pass, as outlined in the city’s charter. He said city prosecutors determined that a lesser four-sevenths majority provided for in the Missouri Constitution for passing general bond issues would not apply due to the timing of the upcoming election. He said the lower requirement, around 57%, would only apply to St. Louis in odd-numbered years.
On Friday, aldermen also voted to extend the city’s indoor mask mandate for another 21 days; the previous one is due to expire on Saturday.
A lawsuit filed last summer by Attorney General Eric Schmitt challenging the city’s health care order is pending in St. Louis Circuit Court.
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