Council Supports Resolution for Family Courts Building

The council will consider whether to put a bond issue before voters as early as April that would fund the construction of a new St. Louis County Family Court Center in Clayton.

Members of the St. Louis County Council showed unanimous support on Tuesday for a resolution supporting construction of a new .

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported Tuesday that council members have begun the process of putting a $100 million bond issue on the April ballot to build a new family courts building and to refurbish the St. Louis County Courts Building. Both facilities are located in .

County Council Chairman Steve Stenger (D-South St. Louis County) told the Post-Dispatch that a resolution expressing support for the project is the first step to getting the measure on the ballot. That resolution passed the council Tuesday without opposition.

Councilwoman Hazel Erby (D-University City) said in an interview after the council meeting that it is time to replace the family courts building. The structure is not sufficient to handle cases that usually involve children, she said.

“The conditions where the children are kept when they are in custody in courts—it’s close quarters,” Erby said. “It’s dangerous, and I’m supportive" of building a new facility.

In 2008, a St. Louis County bond issue that would have included a family courts building and courthouse improvements failed to capture enough votes to move forward. Asked if the proposal on the table will be successful, Erby said, "Hopefully we can convey to the voters that there is a need.”

She added: “So I’m hopeful."

The bond initiative would need to receive 57.15 percent of the vote to pass.


Councilman Michael O’Mara (D-Florissant) presented a resolution Tuesday acknowledging the 25th anniversary of the Project Heat's On program.

The program provides assistance to older people and those with disabilities through the Mechanical Contractors Association and Plumbers & Pipefitters Local 562. O’Mara, who works as an international representative for the United Association of Plumbers, Pipefitters and Sprinklerfitters, said the program usually involves a few hundred people donating a half-day to provide inspections for those in need.

“It covers the disabled, the elderly and those who are unfortunate who can’t afford a safety inspection,” said O’Mara, adding that volunteers inspect furnaces, boilers and smoke alarms, among other equipment.

If a person were to calculate the amount of time that has been invested in the program over the last 25 years, it would come out to about 60,000 man hours, he said.

“Between the manpower and donations, we’re looking at roughly 10,000 members who have donated their time ... and it roughly comes down to about $6 million in value that we’ve put back into this community,” O’Mara said. “You hear a case every year of carbon monoxide poisoning or something. We do our best to try and help them and donate our time and fix the problem. If it’s something severe, we deal with St. Louis County Human Services, which has been a great part of this program.”

The resolution passed unanimously.


After , St. Louis County Executive Charlie Dooley said Tuesday he’s still working with council members on the budget.

But Dooley wouldn’t provide specifics on what the proposal might be, referencing continuing talks with council members.

“We’re in that process now,” Dooley said. “I’m not going to comment because we’re in the process now of the budget process. Until we get to that point, we won’t know.”

Dooley said there has to be a budget before the council by Nov. 1.

The plan—which , among other expenses—got scrapped after a backlash from members of the council. , saying he did not communicate well enough about the proposal.

Richard Mattis September 25, 2011 at 06:37 PM
The arrorgance of the County government thinking about raising taxes in this economic perion is just astounding. We need less govenment, not more. We should vote to lower all their salaries by 10% so that we can get what we pay for. Just a bunch of cronies.


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