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

Incumbent Thuston faces Ward 1 Alderman Broughton for Green Park mayor

Green Park Ward 1 Alderman Michael Broughton, left, and Green Park Mayor Tim Thuston.

Editor’s note: The following questions and answers appeared in the March 16 and March 23 print editions of The Call. See web-exclusive questions and answers at the end of this article. 

Incumbent Green Park Mayor Tim Thuston is challenged by longtime Ward 1 Alderman Michael Broughton in the upcoming municipal election.

Thuston and Broughton will face each other for the title of mayor Tuesday, April 4.

Broughton, 79, and his wife, Marilyn, have four adult children.

Broughton is one of the current Green Park Ward 1 aldermen and has held that seat since 2015.

He has his undergraduate degree in criminal justice from the University of Missouri-St. Louis and his associate degree in law enforcement from St. Louis Community College-Meramec.

Broughton unsuccessfully challenged Thuston for mayor before in the 2021 municipal election.

When asked why he was running for mayor, Broughton said “As alderman, I have been dedicated to the ongoing improvment of residential neighborhoods and continued wellbeing of our business community. As mayor, I intend to be an integral part of the day-to-day operation of the city, and to fulfill the mayor’s supervisory responsibility … Also, I will continue to advocate for sensible code enforcement, police patrol of residential areas … Being mayor would enhance my ability to pursue these and other initiatives.”

Thuston, 69, is the current mayor of Green Park and served as a Ward 2 alderman from 2007 to 2019.

He is the father of six children: Tim, Nick, Andy, Dan, Wil and Sara. He works in flooring sales.

When asked why he was seeking reelection, Thuston said, “I believe I can continue to be an asset to the City of Green Park with my knowledge and expertise in business as well as past leadership roles.”

The candidates gave the following responses to The Call’s questionnaire:

What do you consider the single most important in this race and why?

Broughton: “Improving and maintaining the integrity of Green Park’s residential community via visible police patrol, sensible code enforcement and continued development of programs to benefit resident homeowners … Green Park was created as a fourth class city in order to protect the residential area that became known as … Green Park. Protecting and improving the residential areas is consistent with the primary purpose of the city’s founding.”

Thuston: “The observance of the Constitutional rights for all citizens. I don’t believe we should move outside of the guidelines set forth by our forefathers by interfering with personal individual rights or invading another’s privacy.”

Other issues you perceive in your race:

Broughton: “None that I know of.”

Thuston: “We should use these tools to help the growth of our commercial partners. To continue to protect the safety and care of the entire community. By keeping the low crime rate we enjoy.”

Do you agree with the direction the city is moving?

Broughton: “This question is nebulous and thus open to misinterpretation.”

Thuston: “I agree with the direction the city is moving. We have improved the residential safety of our citizens and added to the protection of our commercial partners by adding cameras to the entrances of the three commercial corridors.”

In your opinion, have city officials and aldermen faithfully adhered to the Sunshine Law? What would you do to ensure compliance?

Broughton: “The mayor is the primary person responsible for supervision of the city employees who would respond to Sunshine requests. As mayor, I would ensure compliance with the Sunshine Law by application of responsible management oversight of administrative practices and staff.”

Thuston: “It is important to faithfully adhere to the provisions of the Sunshine Law. My concern is the use of electronic media to communicate with multiple board members at once — discussions among the board should only be held with public notice.”

What would you propose to increase citizen involvement in city government:

Broughton: “Citizen involvement in government is essential for the delivery of quality, citizen-focused government services. The Neighborhood Watch program is experiencing rejuvenation … Other programs such as aldermanic ‘listening sessions’ would be helpful. Sessions could be monthly and staffed by aldermen … As mayor, I would be available at all sessions to ‘listen’ to citizens … outside … a formal meeting. Let imagination be the guide.”

Thuston: “We are certainly doing our best to invite our citizens to be a part of our city’s government. Any desire to serve is certainly welcome and needed. We need the strength of the youth to advance the city with new ideas and passion …”

Do you support the city’s free trash/recycling services? Should renters be charged for these services?

Broughton: “Yes, I am in favor of these services to owner-occupied single-family residences. But single-family rental properties are business investments. As such, the owners should be charged for these services. Green Park has a lot of rental houses. Most are owned by corporate landlords who own multiple rental properties. The cost to the city to provide services to these rental homes is an estimated $12,000.00 to $15,000.00 annually — maybe more.”

Thuston: “The program started to service the city’s trash pickup and recycling has been successful. This program reduces the number of companies picking up trash on our city streets and increases the safety of our residence by lowering additional commercial traffic. Charging individual rental properties would be too difficult to administer and would increase the traffic servicing these locations …”

Are you satisfied with the city’s response to crime?

Broughton: “I am not satisfied … The city’s response has been and continues to be reactive. I support a proactive response to crime and have for many months advocated for evening and overnight patrol of residential neighborhoods by uniformed officers in marked police vehicles.”

Thuston: “We have added FLOCK cameras to improve the commercial corridors and protection at the entrances. Residentially we are doing all we can to reduce the speeds on our streets. We have a very low crime rate as reported publicly at our Board of Aldermen meeting each month. … This is listed publicly and discussed at each of the meetings.”

What kind of growth do you envision for the city?

Broughton: “I don’t envision any negligible growth of the city in the near future …”

Thuston: I envision 100 percent occupancy in our commercial properties …”

Do you believe the board and city officials are doing enough to ensure rental properties in Green Park comply with the city code?

Broughton: “Elected city officials and the city administrator are not doing enough to ensure rental properties in Green Park comply …. The lack of code enforcement contributes to the degeneration of single-family homes … As this happens, the city becomes more vulnerable to business interests that invest in single-family rental properties. This process in turn results in the decline in value of owner-occupied, single-family homes. Reasonable, responsible, focused code enforcement is necessary to slow and, or, reverse this process.”

Thuston: “All properties both owner occupied and rentals should be equally responsible to comply with the city’s codes.”

Should the city do more to regulate medical residential businesses in city limits?

Broughton: “I suggested and advocated for aldermanic approval of the city ordinance now in place. I am for additional regulation by the city, but Missouri law and recent court decisions limit what cities can do to regulate such businesses.”

Thuston: “We should ensure that all residences regardless of ownership comply with the city’s codes.”

What do you believe should be the top priorities of City Administrator James Mello?

Broughton: “The city administrator’s top priority should be to provide comprehensive management of city government, and to do so in the best interest of and service to the citizens of Green Park without favor or prejudice, and to faithfully adhere to federal and state laws and ordinances of the city. Also, to comply with directions from the mayor and Board of Aldermen.”

Thuston: “As city administrator, James Mello should prioritize the posting of public notices and meeting agendas to the board members, committees, and public with as much notice as possible.”

Does the city need to do more to ensure the agreements through the Neighborhood Enhancement Program are fulfilled properly?

Broughton: “Current city ordinance/city code provides that a lien be placed on the residential property of the grantee and that it be removed when the five-year residency requirement of the grantee is fulfilled. The lien assures that the city will not lose money while investing in the integrity of its residential community. Failure to file a lien with county government is a violation of city ordinance.”

Thuston: “Yes, we have recently insured that all neighborhood enhancement program grants are fulfilled properly by the application of liens on the improved properties.”

Do you support the city’s agreement with the St. Louis County Police Department and would you change it?

Broughton: Being a former police officer, I will always support the police. The city pays in excess of $330,000.00 annually for services it does not control: The city does not control the work hours of its two officers who work day and afternoon shifts, no weekends, or nights. They too regularly receive radio assignments outside the city, but the county does not compensate the city for the many hours the city’s officers are policing other areas … Also, the city pays for many ancillary services that are infrequently or never used. The police contract needs review and changes …

Thuston: “I believe our agreement with the county police has benefited our citizens. Most of our residents know our two police officers, Jeremy Hake and Sanda Cosic — they have done a fine job and continue to protect our citizens. I don’t feel it necessary to add a third police officer to our city as we have ample coverage from the existing patrols …”

Read on for web-exclusive questions and answers: 

What is your position on the use of tax-increment financing and other tax incentives?

Broughton: “The city of Green Park is uniquely positioned in a very desirable geographic location which does not warrant the city having to attract or assist private business interests with financial support.”

Since voters approved a half-cent, capital-improvements sales tax, are you pleased with how the revenue has been spent?

Broughton: “There are no issues at this time.”

Thuston: “Absolutely – the funds are used on street projects every year. Our streets are a model for the area and we leverage the funds into federally-funded projects such as Mueller Road and Green Park Road.”

How much of a fund balance should the city keep in its reserves each year? Please elaborate.

Broughton: “Many months ago, I suggested paying-off the mortgage on the city hall building. I advocated for pay-off at a Board of Aldermen meeting and the loan was paid-off. The city saved an estimated $400,000 dollars in interest payments. Green Park is a city flush with cash; a city that owns its own city hall building from which it receives leasing income and a city blessed with a location that is very attractive to a variety of businesses. As such, Green Park is and remains financially secure. Sensible money management in the future will keep Green Park financially viable.”

Thuston: We keep funds in reserve in accordance with our ordinances, anything in excess should have a demonstrated need for the community that is discussed by the Board before the expenditure is made.”

Should the city be expanded through the annexation of nearby areas of unincorporated St. Louis County?

Broughton did not respond.

Thuston: “No.”

Should the city impose an administrative fee on businesses or require businesses to obtain a license?

Broughton: “At present, I would not advocate for either of these.”

Thuston: The issue of licensure has been raised several times over the last several years.  The revenue we receive would financially hurt our businesses and not provide good benefit to the city.”

Are you satisfied with the services the city provides to residents, including snow removal and street maintenance?

Broughton: “Street maintenance has been pretty good, but is an area of service to the public that needs constant oversite and attention by city officials. As for snow removal and common area maintenance (grass cutting, etc.): These particular services seem to be excessively expensive, so a thorough review of current charges and comparison to those of reputable venders seems appropriate.”

Thuston: Our streets continue to be serviced at the highest level.  Snow removal and lawn maintenance has not been a problem when compared to the public streets outside of our city limits.”

Are you pleased with the city’s comprehensive plan? Are changes needed? If so, what would you propose?

Broughton: “During the eight years that I have been an elected city official, no one—to the best of my recollection, has ever mentioned the city’s comprehensive plan. So, I’m certainly that it needs a comprehensive review and updated where necessary. It should then be adhered to and systematically reviewed. This will be on my “To Do” list as mayor.”

Thuston: It has been 10 years since the last comprehensive plan and we should review the comprehensive plan soon to continue to advance the city’s positive growth.”

What is your vision for the city of Green Park?

Broughton: “For the city to be a safe, clean, well-kept residential community supported by a strong tax base of thriving businesses.”

Thuston did not respond.

What is your greatest accomplishment on behalf of the city? 

Broughton: “1) Created the Neighborhood Enhancement program; a grant to resident homeowners of up to $5,000.00 for repairs/improvements to their residence — forgivable with five-years subsequent residence. To date, the grant has provided nearly $100,000 to resident homeowners. 2) Created and advocate for a city ordinance to regulate residential medical facilities in the city, which is currently in place. 3) Discovered and brought to aldermen’s attention the failure of our city administrator to file liens (required by city ordinance) on 14 residential properties that received home improvement grants, which put $70,000 tax dollars “at risk.” Liens have now been filed. 4) Saved the city an estimated $400,000 dollars by suggesting
and advocating for the loan on city hall to be paid-off. 5) Suggested and advocated for a first-time homebuyer’s grant of $5,000 to assist home buyers with down payments; five-year residency and a lien on the property required. Program now operational and codified in city ordinance. 6) Created and distributed to local businesses a “Ronnie Hills Truck Flyer” designed to aid and encourage delivery truck drivers to avoid Ronnie Hills. 7) Suggested and advocated for the installation of solar street lights at various intersections of residential streets for safety and security; installations coming soon.”

Thuston: Over the course of my tenure as a member of the board and as mayor we have added many improvements. Green Park now owns the building we occupy.  Previously we paid rent, now as owner-occupiers, the city has a positive cash flow due to this investment.  We have added a second police officer to enhance coverage provided by the normal patrols of the St Louis County police.  We have also improved the safety of our citizens by adding street lights along Green Park Road and Mueller Road.  There are flashing stop signs installed to reduce the speed along many of our streets.  The complete replacement of both Green Park Road, Mueller Road and many of the residential streets within the city.  We also provided our residents the cleanest water possible by updating the main water supply along Mueller Road. The addition of James Mello as city administrator has provided us with greatly improved administration of the city’s business.  I am proud of the 4-foot-wide asphalt trail that connects our city to the trail that runs along Gravois Creek.”

Do you support a city-county merger?

Broughton: “I am against it.”

Thuston: “I do not support a city-county merger.”

Do you believe the city should provide notices to media of upcoming meetings? Should city meetings be recorded?

Broughton: “Media should be kept apprised of city operations—including meetings, and should make a concerted effort to comply with all relevant laws and regulations. I am not opposed to the recording of city meetings.”

Thuston: Yes we should provide notice to local media outlets of upcoming meetings. I don’t see the necessity to add the expense of recording city meetings.” 

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