Crestwood board to revisit two issues recently voted down

By EVAN YOUNG

The Crestwood Board of Aldermen plans to take another look next week at two issues it voted down at a recent meeting.

Aldermen voted last week to reconsider its July 28 decisions to reject a handful of amendments to the city’s police code and a $118,850 agreement with an engineering firm for design services in reconstructing the deteriorating Whitecliff Park Service Bridge over Gravois Creek.

The board voted 7-1 Aug. 11 to reconsider the police code revisions; Ward 3 Alderman Jerry Miguel was opposed. Aldermen voted 6-2 to revisit the engineering firm agreement; Ward 2 Alderman Jeff Schlink and Ward 3 Alderman Paul Duchild were opposed.

When an ordinance containing the police code changes came up for a second reading July 28, the board deadlocked 3-3 on the issue. The legislation failed because ordinances must receive at least five affirmative votes to pass.

Ward 1 Aldermen Mimi Duncan and Darryl Wallach and Ward 4 Alderman Deborah Beezley voted in favor of the ordinance; Schlink, Duchild and Ward 4 Alderman John Foote were opposed. Ward 2 Alderman Chris Pickel and Miguel were absent.

As presented, the ordinance contained several police code amendments recommended by the city’s Police Board, which is comprised of volunteer residents who serve in an advisory capacity.

Some of those recommended amendments were:

• Modify Police Board members’ terms to run concurrently with the mayor’s term.

• Allow the Police Board aldermanic representative to designate an alternative representative to attend meetings.

• Modify the code to read the Police Board will meet “regularly” instead of “monthly.”

• Stipulate that Police Department and police chief compensation shall be provided for within the city’s budget instead of a specific ordinance or resolution.

• Modify the police chief’s requirement to report to the Police Board and Board of Aldermen to “as requested” instead of on a “monthly” basis.

Duchild offered four amendments to the police code ordinance during the June 23 Board of Aldermen meeting.

Some of those amendments proposed changes — such as keeping the Police Board meeting and police chief report frequencies at “monthly” — that completely reversed the Police Board’s recommendations.

Aldermen didn’t approve the majority of Duchild’s amendments.

Foote made the motion Aug. 11 to reconsider the ordinance. He indicated he would propose an amendment Tuesday to amend the Police Board’s meeting requirements to “monthly unless canceled due to extenuating circumstances.”

The board voted 4-2 July 28 to reject an agreement with CDG Engineers to provide design services for the reconstruction of the Whitecliff Park Service Bridge.

Foote and Beezley were in favor of the proposal.

The bridge closed to vehicular traffic in November 2007 following a Missouri Department of Transportation inspection. The following month, the city received a MoDOT grant that would offset 80 percent of the new bridge’s design and construction costs.

Using that grant, the city would pay $24,000 of the estimated $120,000 needed to design the new bridge and $120,000 of the $600,000 estimated cost to construct it.

However, aldermen asked in March what consequences Crestwood would face if it turned down the money and abandoned the project. Officials determined that doing so might negatively affect the city’s chances of getting the same grant, known as a Surface Transportation Program Enhancement grant, in the future.

But officials also said the Public Works Department typically pursues STP-Urban grants for roads and bridges and wouldn’t face repercussions there if it turned down the STP-Enhancement grant.

In the meantime, the Whitecliff bridge won’t reopen until the city builds a new structure. It’s still accessible to pedestrians, but that could change in the next one to five years, officials said.

Foote urged aldermen July 28 to approve the CDG agreement and to pursue the project primarily for safety reasons; no bridge access for emergency vehicles could cause serious problems in the event of a fire in the park, he said.

Other aldermen said the combined $144,000 the city would pay for the design and construction of the new bridge could be better spent elsewhere.

However, Wallach said Aug. 11 that he had “reflected on my decision” to vote against the agreement and motioned to reconsider the issue.

He said he was concerned about the varied estimates of the bridge’s longevity and the effect turning down the STP-Enhancement grant would have on future grant applications.

Though it wasn’t done by a motion to reconsider, the board also will conduct a work session with American Traffic Solutions Co. to discuss red-light cameras. Aldermen voted 4-2 July 28 against scheduling the work session following a presentation by Police Chief Michael Paillou.

Pickel, who was absent for that vote, said Aug. 11 the board should fully educate itself on the issue and offered to make a motion to reconsider the vote. He chaired a citizen revenue committee that initially requested the Police Department explore a red-light camera program.

However, Mayor Roy Robinson said he would schedule a work session and bypass a board motion, which City Attorney Rob Golterman said was allowable because it was not a legislative issue.