Paul Berry III PLATFORM POINTS
Appointed St. Louis County Executive Sam Page has not established the relationships with Federal and State of Missouri government officials necessary to effectively place the needs of St. Louis County citizens in front of the political party running Washington D.C. and Jefferson City.
I will establish St. Louis County as the jewel of county government operations in the United States. St. Louis shall serve as a model for county governments of similar size across the United States. St. Louis County will accomplish our goals by only pledging our county taxpayer dollars to intergovernmental projects that provide a “Win” for St. Louis County taxpayers.
St. Louis County is underrepresented on quasi-government boards who spend St. Louis County tax dollars, which is unacceptable and will stop under my leadership as St. Louis County Executive. Two prime examples of St. Louis County taxpayers being underrepresented on a board that determines how our tax dollars are spent in the Metropolitan Sewer District of St. Louis (MSD) and St. Louis Convention & Visitors Commission (CVC).
Currently, St. Louis County is allotted three (3) MSD board members to represent St. Louis County’s one million person jurisdiction, while the City of St. Louis is also provided (3) MSD board members to represent just three hundred thousand residents. The same issue exists with CVC, St. Louis County has an equal number of board seats as the City of St. Louis (each has 5 board seats), with very little return on St. Louis County hotel tax dollars transferred to CVC and their funding of the City of St. Louis tourism projects.
St. Louis County’s board member arraignment with MSD and CVC violates the spirit of “one man, one vote” theory and all such will end under my St. Louis County Executive leadership. As your St. Louis County Executive, I will demand St. Louis County receives equal board representation on behalf of our residents anytime St. Louis County tax dollars are being spent by MSD, CVC, or any other quasi-government entity.
St. Louis County was not built over the last century by out-of-state corporations who benefit from government giveaways in the form of tax increment financing (TIFs). St. Louis County was founded by lifelong residents who paid their personal property and real estate taxes to St. Louis County, year in and year out. With fluctuations in 401k retirement accounts, uncertainty in personal liability for medical expenses, and a lack of employment opportunities made available to St. Louis County Senior residents, our St. Louis County Senior population requires immediate real estate property tax relief.
To provide St. Louis Seniors the property tax relief they need and deserve, St. Louis County will have to refrain from executing crony deals for political supporters. You will see serious opposition to my St. Louis County Homestead Act from politicians who want St. Louis County tax breaks going to businesses and political supporters. I challenge you to ask yourself a question, is my St. Louis County Homestead Act a good thing for our parents and grandparents?
I challenge you to think outside the box supported by career politicians. We can design St. Louis County as the type of community we want, where St. Louis County focuses on assisting underprivileged kids, disabled persons, and Seniors. Don’t be fooled by fake politicians, the St. Louis County Homestead Act is great for St. Louis County!
St. Louis County Homestead Act Program Eligibility Requirements
- St. Louis County resident who is at least seventy years (70 years) of age who owns and resides at St. Louis County residential property seeking property tax abatement during the property tax term in question.
- St. Louis County resident who is seeking property tax abatement has paid at least thirty years (30 years) of property taxes towards any St. Louis County residential property.
- The title to the St. Louis County residential property tax abatement is sought has not been conveyed or otherwise titled to any thirty-party (other than a spouse or certain family asset trust), including any reverse mortgage agreement.
St. Louis County Homestead Act Program Tax Abatement
- Any St. Louis County Resident eligible for St. Louis County Homestead Act residential property tax abatement at seventy years (70 years) and older shall not pay any personal property tax upon an eligible St. Louis County residential property upon the first fifty thousand dollars ($50,000) of property value assessed by St. Louis County Assessor.
- Any St. Louis County Resident eligible for St. Louis County Homestead Act residential property tax abatement at least eighty years (80 years old) shall not pay any personal property tax upon an eligible St. Louis County residential property upon the first seventy-five thousand dollars ($75,000) of property value assessed by St. Louis County Assessor.
St. Louis City has a one billion dollar annual operating budget. St. Louis City maintains some of the highest sales tax and murder rates. St. Louis City owns tens of thousands of abandoned buildings, charges income taxes on their residents, operates over one hundred government agencies, and is under significant protest from their own residents being dissatisfied with their own local government leaders. As a citizen, businessman, and potential County Executive of St. Louis County, I do not support merging the City of St. Louis with St. Louis County. The best way St. Louis County can help the City of St. Louis is to remain an economic engine for the entire St. Louis region. There is absolutely no way I would support fixing issues plaguing the City of St. Louis until I have addressed the same issue plaguing parts of North and South St. Louis County
For clarity to my supporters, I love the City of St. Louis. I know the City of St. Louis is hurting, which can only be healed by the City of St. Louis citizens voting for elected officials who have the talent to meet the challenges of their community. As St. Louis County Executive, my duty is to the People of St. Louis County and not my City of St. Louis friends. The political position that I am absolutely against the City of St. Louis merging with St. Louis County has nothing to do with my love and respect for the City. I will continue to work to improve my family, friends, and neighbors in the City of St. Louis during my personal time and working on regional agreements that are fair to St. Louis County taxpayers.
As simple math provides, when St. Louis County takes in fewer sales tax dollars than projected during any fiscal year, the end result requires budgetary cuts to our St. Louis County budget. To answer the question directly, St. Louis County will require budget cuts due to the loss of sales tax revenue from the COVID-19 shutdown. St. Louis County needs to re-imagine how we generate sales and property tax revenue (by the growth of tax base and not by gouging property owners) to meet St. Louis County’s obligations to our citizens. While St. Louis County maintains a positive credit rating utilized by government lending institutions, I am very concerned about the effect of St. Louis County homeowners and businesses fleeing St. Louis County over the next few years.
As St. Louis County Executive, my process for establishing our St. Louis County budget is outlined as follows:
- Review all current St. Louis County spending and operations for effectiveness, waste and fraud;
- Establish the liabilities, responsibilities, and priorities of St. Louis County government for the upcoming fiscal year;
- Organize and lead St. Louis County government in a manner to effectively provide government duties and services based upon the requirements of our Constitution and Charter; and
- Inform and provide access for input from St. Louis County businesses and citizens of our budgetary choices to meet the liabilities, responsibilities, and priorities of St. Louis County government.
As a career bail bondsman, I understand the challenges facing our St. Louis County corrections system and our constitutional responsibility to provide for the health and welfare of all persons under St. Louis County’s custody. Our St. Louis County Justice Center corrections officers were utilized as a “scapegoat” to explain the increase in deaths of St. Louis County prisoners. St. Louis County Justice Center was placed in the hands of an inexperienced criminal justice operator, and as a direct result St. Louis County failed to provide a corrections system capable of addressing the health concerns of our St. Louis County Justice Center inmates.
For the most part, St. Louis County Justice Center evaluates the health of its jail prisoners by requesting information from the inmate based upon a health questionnaire. The additional component I will institute at our St. Louis County Justice Center is the opportunity to participate in an independent physical examination conducted by the St. Louis County Department of Health.
The proposed medical physicals provided by St. Louis County Department of Health would be offered on a voluntary basis and the results of such physical examination shall be considered a medical record protected by the normal course of doctor/patient confidentiality. Providing voluntary medical physicals to St. Louis County Justice Center inmates will establish a more efficient system to address the medical needs of our inmates, decrease the sexually transmitted infection rates in St. Louis County and identify mental health or substance abuse issues affecting our St. Louis County inmates. Providing for the St. Louis County Department of Health to conduct voluntary medical physicals of our St. Louis County inmates will increase the overall health of both our St. Louis County inmates and the general population.
Animal control should remain the responsibility of St. Louis County (or your St. Louis County municipality when such animal control services are provided), although domestic animals that are housed by St. Louis County that are designated available for adoption should be under the stewardship of a competent and dedicated nonprofit agency.
As St. Louis County Executive, I propose re-establishing St. Louis County animal shelter under the following operation procedures:
- St. Louis County shall continue responsibility for maintaining facilities, utilities, and food for adoptable animals;
- St. Louis County shall enter into a contract with a University that provides veterinarian training to provide medical supervision and services on behalf of St. Louis County to all animals in the care of St. Louis County at no cost to our taxpayers; and
- St. Louis County shall enter into a contract with a well-qualified nonprofit agency to provide all other operational costs and staff required to house and facilitate the adoption of animals located at St. Louis County animal shelter.
For decades, North St. Louis County students who attended struggling school districts were denied the same educational opportunities provided to the City of St. Louis students, which permitted the City of St. Louis students priority to enroll at quality St. Louis County school districts over our own County children. St. Louis County residents in struggling school districts should always have priority over the any City of St. Louis student when government-sponsored transfer opportunities are available at any St. Louis County school district. While the St. Louis County Executive does not maintain direct authority over public and private schools, I will lobby our Federal and State of Missouri governments to protect St. Louis County school children FIRST!
As St. Louis County Executive, I will work with our local school districts and the Missouri General Assembly to demand St. Louis County residents receive priority when government-sponsored transfer opportunities are available in well-performing St. Louis County school districts and private institutions. I will also lobby the Missouri General Assembly and our Missouri Governor to establish a school choice voucher program that will provide students in any failing school district may attend a private school within St. Louis County that can provide a higher level of educational programming to St. Louis County students who reside in failing school districts.
I am laser-focused on providing school choice opportunities in partnership with top-tier St. Louis County private schools to Normandy and Riverview Gardens students whose parents can get their kids to school on time every day. At the same time, I will lead as the chief lobbyist on behalf of St. Louis County and our community as a whole will rebuild our disadvantaged St. Louis County school districts so all St. Louis County students have quality public school options serving their home community.
With advice from your St. Louis County Councilperson and South St. Louis County residents, I want to identify large properties in South St. Louis County that are located away from residential communities to establish business development that will support our current South St. Louis County businesses. South St. Louis County is ripe for development districts to attract national corporate relocation opportunities.
First, I will locate six locations in South St. Louis County that are deemed suitable for private industry to build corporate campuses for mid and large scale companies.
Second, I will utilize current economic development tax credits offered by the State of Missouri to guarantee such state tax breaks to private companies who purchase property and relocate to six designated South St. Louis County locations. The increase of jobs in St. Louis County will also result in substantial increases in sales and property tax revenue generated by South St. Louis County and will also spur home construction and population growth throughout South St. Louis County. Further, the core responsibilities of any St. Louis County Executive should always be to defend each St. Louis County Citizen’s right to enjoy their home residence in peace, while simultaneously getting all government OUT of the way of small business owners!
Revamp St. Louis County Planning Commission Appointment Process
Dealing with the St. Louis County Planning Commission can be a daunting task for most small businesses, which needs to change. I am also concerned that zoning requests that truly affect the fabric of South County residential neighborhoods are being ignored. The main difference between St. Louis City and St. Louis County residential neighborhoods is that St. Louis City encourages business traffic incorporated in their residential neighborhoods. St. Louis County neighborhood residents have absolutely no interest in bringing unnecessary business traffic where they sleep and enjoy their front yards, and the wishes of St. Louis residents should be respected.
As St. Louis County Executive, I intend on restructuring the St. Louis County Planning Commission during my 2-year special term, as follows:
- Each St. Louis County Councilperson shall appoint two St. Louis County Planning Commissioners, and each St. Louis County Planning Commissioner appointed by such St. Louis County Councilperson shall be from a different political party and shall serve a two-year term;
- St. Louis County Executive shall appoint one St. Louis County Planning Commissioner per each St. Louis County Council District and shall serve a three-year term; and
- When St. Louis County Planning Commission votes in favor of denial of a zoning request and any St. Louis County Planning Commissioner appointed to the St. Louis County Council District in question opposes the result of such Commission vote, such St. Louis County Planning Commissioner shall testify by written statement or in person before the St. Louis County Council of the basis or reasoning such St. Louis County Planning Commissioner believes such St. Louis County Planning Commission vote is not in the best interest of the St. Louis County District in question.
Our St. Louis County Planning Commission is an advisory committee, the main function is to provide business experience and community input to our elected St. Louis County Councilmembers so intelligent and sensible zoning decisions are made on behalf of unincorporated St. Louis County Executive residents.
I envision Proposition P funds (St. Louis County’s dedicated sales tax towards law enforcement expenses) to only be utilized towards funding the base salaries of the county and municipal law enforcement officers in St. Louis County. My model ensures Prop P law enforcement dollars will be utilized to maintain an appropriate number of law enforcement officers and support staff protecting St. Louis County residents and businesses.
As St. Louis County Executive, I seek to limit the use of Prop P funds to the payment of St. Louis County and municipal law enforcement officer salaries, as follows:
- 45% of Prop P funds disbursed to St. Louis County and municipal law enforcement agencies based upon each law enforcement jurisdiction’s resident population;
- 20% of Prop P funds dedicated for the sole purpose of payment of salaries for St. Louis County and/or municipal law enforcement officers who are dedicated to investigate and/or apprehend murder, organized crime, crimes against persons, sex crimes, jurisdictions with elevated crime and terrorism matters, including the location of missing persons and hate crime violations;
- 20% of Prop P funds provided to St. Louis County Police Department to establish a law enforcement mental health officer designation program which shall recruit and pay an additional salary stipend to St. Louis County and municipal law enforcement officers who have achieved both education and training necessary to clinically identify, assess and defuse situations involving persons who may have a mental issue or domestic violence situations; and
- 15% of Prop P funds dedicated solely to emergency law enforcement services associated with disaster, terrorism, pandemic, or civil unrest, including the reserve of such funds by St. Louis County for the same purpose.