By. Janet Sikes
In my first article of my tenure here, I decided that I would write on an issue that is currently facing St. Louis. That issue if the current Tax Dollar use. For years now, St. louis (like many other cities) have been giving away TIF funds to developers so that they can build their projects to his or her liking. This has caused an epidemic however by way of how Public Money is being spent. Over the past half of a year, the amount of proposals in the City of St. Louis have skyrocketed, literally. It proves that the economy is coming back, however, with this revival, the City is fast approaching bankruptcy.
developers have been relying on the City Government to hand them out TIFs whenever they feel like they need them. That is a fatal mistake on our behalf. St. Louis has become a breeding ground for developers to take money away from our budget of just over $1 Billion. Because of this issue, the budgets of many crucial departments in the City are bring chiseled away at so developers can build. Money itself is being wastefully spent already without developers even having a hand in it. Because of this, we have to look at what we can do to prevent wasteful use of our Tax Dollars, not only government wise, but TIF wise. Lets start by looking at the Budget.
The City has an annual budget of $1.2 Billion during the 2016-2017 Fiscal year. Within the budget, to my calculations, have totaled over $60 Million in wasteful spending in the City. That huge amount of money can be best kept tucked away. What I mean by this is quite simple, we need to create a surplus fund in the City. A fund, such as this, could help us out when it comes down to developers clawing at the Public Money for their projects. The surplus fund would tuck the $60 Million away, and if a developer would like to take some of that to use on a project, it would have tp be fully voted on by the Board of Aldermen. This would help us balance out how we spend and give away money in the City.
Besides this, the unused money can go towards City services in the event of an emergency budget shortfall. This shortfall can be anything from an increase ion employees to a reorganization of the service. Regardless, it is there and is $60 Million up for grabs (but not for one person only). In my opinion, we are wasting public tax dollars, but as mentioned, there is a way to save money in a smart and efficient way. Not only do
I believe this will help us out in our Future ambitions, but it will also lay the foundation for a smarter St. Louis Civic Government in terms of transparency and fiscal conservatism.
In all honesty, I highly recommend the Politicians in the City of St. Louis read this to the fullest extent and promote this idea.
For Building St. Louis News, I'm Janet Sikes.