South St. Louis County News

St. Louis Call Newspapers

South St. Louis County News

St. Louis Call Newspapers

South St. Louis County News

St. Louis Call Newspapers

Foote, Parsons vying for Crestwood’s Ward 4 seat

John Foote
John Foote

Six candidates are seeking seats on the Crestwood Board of Aldermen in the April 3 election.

Harold “Mac” McGee is unopposed in Ward 1, Steve Knarr and Danielle Oettle square off in Ward 2, incumbent board President Jerry Miguel is unopposed in Ward 3 and John Foote and former Alderman Bob Parsons face each other in Ward 4. Each seat has a three-year term.

This article focuses on Foote and Parsons.

Asked to identify the most important issue in the race, the candidates responded:

• “Maintaining city services to meet the needs of our residents (our city was incorporated to do this),” Foote said. “To maintain these services, we must continue to be fiscally responsible while developing programs to improve our economic engine.”

• “Crestwood is on the path of recovery,” Parsons said. “We need to expand that effort until many more of the empty storefronts are again revitalized. Filling these spaces along Watson (Road) and in Westfield Shoppingtown (Crestwood) is what is needed to complete the financial recovery of Crestwood.”

Foote, 72, 8865 Glen Rose Drive, 63126, is a retired researcher in Washington University’s physics department. He and his wife, Carol, have a grown daughter and a deceased son.

Foote said he is seeking office “to move the city forward.”

Parsons, 68, 9872 Amberley Drive, 63126, is a retired manufacturing engineer. He and his wife, Mary Lou, have two grown children.

Parsons, who was elected to serve as an alderman from 1994 to 1998, said he is seeking office because “I believe Crestwood is a great family oriented community and I want to be a part of its reemergence as a solvent solid community where people are proud to live.”

The candidates gave the following responses to a Call questionnaire:

The Board of Aldermen voted in 2002 to tape record closed sessions of the board involving litigation and real-estate matters. Do you support such taping?

Foote said, “Yes, as long as sensitive nature of meeting remains in compliance with the Missouri Sunshine Law.”

Parsons said, “I believe that the ordinary discussion of a closed session should not be recorded to ensure a free flow of ideas and discussion of the issue. That said, I feel that any decisions voted on should be a recorded vote.”

What is your position on the use of tax-increment financing — TIF — and other tax tools?

Foote said, “All development tools must be carefully considered before they are used. These tools can impact elements of our community and school system for periods exceeding 20 years; it is imperative all factors must be reviewed before any developmental tool is selected.”

Parsons said, “Any tax-supported issue must have a real need attached. While I can support TIF, I would favor other methods that put the repayment on the development alone rather than on all of Crestwood citizens. That is what was used at Big Bend Crossing road improvements and is in the plan for Sappington Square.”

Do you agree with the direction the city is moving under Mayor Roy Robinson?

Foote said, “Yes, the BOA under Mayor Robinson has cut long-term debt by over $14 million and balanced the budget while promoting development in the city and Watson Corridor.”

Parsons said, “Mayor Robinson became mayor at a very difficult time for Crestwood. I support the hard choices that had to be made to get Crestwood on the way to recovery. I will work with the mayor and board to continue the improvement of Crestwood.”

How much of a fund balance should Crestwood keep in its reserves each year?

Foote said, “Crestwood operates three major funds financed by sales taxes. The tax income varies each month, yet costs such as payroll and others must be met (paid) monthly. Cash reserves should be established to fully cover the largest predictable budget shortfall so service costs can be met during low-income periods throughout the year.”

Parsons said, “Any community must have a reserve. I believe that $2 million is a good start, but I feel that this amount, which is about 15 percent of the annual budget, is lower than what would be prudent.”

Should the city fund the cost of strategic planning on an annual basis or should the sessions be done in-house?

Foote said, “Careful planning leads to success. However, affordability and the benefits of outside consultants must be considered carefully.”

Parsons said, “Having a specialist guide a group is advisable. I think that if a valid multi-year plan is made, there will not be a need for a specialist every year.”

If elected, what will you propose to solve the city’s financial problems?

Foote said, “Our city’s budgets are overly dependent upon sales taxes. We must rework our shopping corridor and business connections to provide the best possible experience to draw shoppers back to Crestwood. In addition, the BOA must control spending to remain on budget, pay off long-term debt and build reserves.”

Parsons said, “If elected, I will work to continue the current close monitoring of all expenses. This is important in all financial conditions, not just tight times.”

What is your “vision” for the city of Crestwood?

Foote said, “Continue Crestwood as a great place to live with desirable housing conveniently located within the top-rated Lindbergh School District. We must work at the upkeep of our streets and neighborhoods and emphasize our great parks while providing services at reasonable prices.”

Parsons said, “I want Crestwood to be a place with a full range of amenities, well-maintained streets, parks and housing. I see Crestwood as a model for city officials, businesses and families being parts of a close-knit community.”

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