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

Misplaced priorities of Dooley, County Council fueling ‘wage drain’

On Jan. 1, the new Democratic majority took control of the St. Louis County Council. Since then, the only thing they have proven is they’re as bad as the Republicans — especially when it comes to wasting tax dollars.

One of the first things the new County Council did was send more millions of county tax dollars to the St. Louis Convention & Visitors Commission, which is notorious for questionable spending.

Among other things, the CVC has spent $450,000 a year for office space when it had space in the convention center it could use for free.

More recently, the council approved a $180,000 no-bid contract for an organization where one of County Executive Charlie Dooley’s supporters is an officer.

The supporter was also the chair of the Metropolitan Sewer District a few years ago when all the questionable activity was discovered and the board was forced to resign.

Just last month, the council approved nearly $3 million more for the Convention & Visitors Commission, $50,000 to the Magic House and $25,000 to the St. Louis Film Festival.

This was at the same time the county was closing swimming pools in 100-degree weather due to cutbacks.

County officials also closed a bridge in Fenton and said they had no funds to repair it. Similarly, the county told Affton residents it was unable to pick up all the tree branches and debris left from a recent storm. Take care of the problems yourselves, said a county spokesman.

On Sept. 18, the County Council approved $48.5 million for Metro — the “Outlaw Transit Agency” that can almost compete with the Metropolitan Sewer District when it comes to wasting public money. Despite Metro’s terrible record in recent years, and many objections from citizens about how it operates, the council approved the appropriation and demanded no accountability in return.

In 2004, a report by the University of Missouri revealed that St. Louis County had lost $2.6 billion in wages during a previous nine-year period. People, jobs and revenue have left the county in record numbers.

The “wage drain” will continue as long as there is a county executive and County Council with such misplaced priorities.

Tom Sullivan

St. Louis

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