Crestwood’s Prop C coasts to victory

Crestwood's Prop C coasts to victory

Both Crestwood’s 45-cent tax-rate increase to maintain existing services to residents and the county’s half-cent sales-tax increase for police and fire safety appear to be winners in Tuesday’s election, according to unofficial election results.

Crestwood Proposition C:

• Yes — 2,097

• No — 1,607

With nearly 96 percent of precincts reporting, St. Louis County Proposition P appears headed for victory:

• Yes — 101,964

• No — 59,433

Proposition C

Crestwood voters are considering the 45-cent tax-rate increase called Proposition C.

If approved, the tax-rate increase would generate roughly $1.13 million annually for “general municipal purposes, including paying the increased costs associated with operating a local Police Department, operating a local Fire Department, building and facility maintenance, and other city operational needs,” according to the ballot language.

City officials say passage of Prop C is necessary for the city to continue to provide its current level of services to residents. If the tax-rate increase is not approved, city officials say they will have no choice but to curtail services.

But members of the Crestwood Citizens Against Proposition C, including resident Bill Schelinski, contend the amount of the tax-rate increase is exorbitant and are concerned about the impact on some residents who won’t be able to afford it.

The city’s 2016 tax rates are 27.8 cents per $100 of assessed value for personal property, 24.8 cents per $100 for residential property and 41.4 cents per $100 for commercial property. If Prop C is approved, those rates would increase to 72.8 cents for personal property, 69.8 cents for residential property and 86.4 cents for commercial property.

Proposition P

County voters are considering a half-cent sales-tax increase, called Proposition P, to fund police and public safety in the county and all its cities.

In a television advertisement for the tax, Chief Jon Belmar of the St. Louis County Police Department said, “Proposition P will save lives.”

He hopes to add 110 more county officers if the tax is approved by voters. Prop P could raise up to $80 million a year, $46 million for the county and $34 million for cities.

Money from Prop P will also go to individual cities like Crestwood, Sunset Hills and Green Park, whether or not they have their own police departments. The larger the city, the more it receives from the tax.

County critic Tom Sullivan argues that residents should not trust county officials with $46 million more on top of the existing $115 million police budget.

“The new money would have to go for public safety, but the current funding could be diverted, just like the (state) lottery money years ago,” Sullivan said.

The St. Louis County Republican Central Committee voted unanimously against the tax, including former police Chief Tim Fitch, now the Meramec committeeman. Every other former chief is backing the tax.