Friends and Neighbors,
The City is deep into the budget cycle for 2020. We are having a debate among the Aldermen about budget priorities and, specifically, the use of Parks & Stormwater Sales Tax revenue. The outcome of this debate will have a direct impact on how much money is available for new parks & rec facilities and programs. Historically, the City has paid for existing parks and rec operations out of General Revenue. Street Repairs are paid for out of Capital Improvement Sales Tax revenue and General Revenue.
It is my view that the Voters were asked to approve the half cent sales tax to finance new parks facilities and recreation programs, including, potentially, a community center. There are some voices on the Board of Aldermen who want to spend Parks and Stormwater Tax revenue on current parks & rec operations so that more General Revenue can be spent on streets. If we do that I believe it will seriously delay or derail expansion of parks & rec and would represent a breach of faith with the voters.
In the months before the November 2017 election where the voters approved the Parks and Stormwater Sales Tax, I sent out 5 Shine a Light Reports discussing the rationale for approving the tax hike. Those Reports were also posted to the City’s website and Facebook page for all to see. The City also held 2 public meetings where the same message was conveyed: “Approve the tax hike to fund new parks facilities and expanded recreation programs.” I have attached those 5 Reports as well as other more recent reports regarding our efforts to expand park facilities and recreation programs.
If you remember this the same way I do. Please contact your Aldermen and tell them to save Parks Tax money for new parks and rec facilities and programs. We will be discussing the 2020 budget at the Board of Aldermen meeting on November 6. Please come to that meeting at City Hall and let the Board and me know where you stand regarding this issue. The Workshop meeting starts at 6:00 PM and the Business meeting starts at 7:00. There will be opportunities for you to speak at either meeting.
“Shine a Light on City Government”
DAVID C. ZUCKER
City of Dardenne Prairie, MO