An important source document for my State of the City Address to the St. Louis Board of Aldermen today was last year’s speech. Comparing “goal” to “accomplishment” is a useful way of measuring the City’s progress.
Here’s how things turned out (the words in italics are from last year’s State of the City address):
"And, I am happy to report that the governor is working with us on a "Quality Jobs" initiative that will give the City better tools to attract and retain businesses, and on keeping in place many of the economic incentives that have brought us this far."
In 2005, the Missouri Legislature passed Senate Bill 343 and the Governor signed the bill into law on July 5, 2005. The bill incorporated the "Quality Jobs Act" discussed in the State of the City speech.
Revenues and Expenses
"I have also asked several study teams to examine our underlying revenues and expenses, and to make some recommendations for our consideration. These recommendations will be directed towards ensuring that we can continue to grow our economy, provide high quality city services, and continue the progress of the past four years."
"Recommendations from all these different efforts will probably include a consolidation of some services including elements of health care and social services, and parts of public safety with St. Louis County and other neighbors. They may include the sale or joint operation of some assets, such as the airport. They will almost certainly include some recommendations for retooling our business taxes, while preserving our revenue base."
In the fall of 2005, we convened the City Finance Task Force under the direction of City Operations Manager Ron Smith. That Task Force completed a series of recommendations, many of which are now being implemented. One of the most important recommendations was for an independent review of City department efficiencies and the City’s tax and fee structure.
With private funding, a consultant from Philadelphia has been retained to review staffing across City departments. Once that work is complete, we anticipate the same consultant will review the City’s entire tax and fee structure and make recommendations to make sure our tax and fee policy promotes job and residential growth in the City.
While no specific services have been consolidated with St. Louis County, I continue to work with county executive Charlie Dooley. Examples of our efforts include a joint plan to end chronic homelessness,and the work of the Regional Health Commission.
"I will announce the designation of a new Celebration Center, an office funded by the private and public sectors that will work with the City to enhance civic events like Fair St. Louis and River Splash."
The Celebration Center created Live On The Levee, which put on three concerts last summer: Macy Gray, Collective Soul and Blues Traveler. We then negotiated a merger between the Celebration Center and Fair St. Louis. The two Boards merged and Celebration Center. Missy Slay became the executive director of the new joint organization. We are planning six weeks of concerts this summer starting with Fair St. Louis. The new organization’s office is at 1141 S. 7th St.
"Also, I expect to announce progress this year on plans to better use our central riverfront with a new design team to be announced next Monday; to improve the Gateway Mall; to build Chouteau’s Lake and Greenway; to return mainstream retail to Union Station; and to take back St. Louis Center."
The Riverfront and Arch Connector are our highest priority civic initiatives and significant progress is being made on these. We are creating a non-profit board to plan Chouteau’s Lake.
With respect to the Gateway Mall, the American Institute of Architects, working with the City, conducted a charette last fall that generated ideas for the mall. Rollin Stanley and Gary Bess are currently working with the Gateway Foundation to structure a design competition for the mall. In the meantime, flowers and greenery are once again being planted in the mall this spring.
With respect to Union Station,