Voters Weigh in on Side Page Gig, Internet Sales Taxes | Politics

CLAYTON — St. Louis County voters have said once and for all they don’t want their county executive blacked out, passing a measure that adds teeth to an existing charter provision that could force County Executive Sam Page to quit working part-time as an anesthesiologist.

Proposal B follows a long-running battle between Page and St. Louis County Council critics who accuse him of violating the charter by continuing to work as a doctor, questioning how much time he spends on his medical practice. Page dismissed the investigation as political theater, although he declined to release a detailed schedule or his salary, saying he works one weekend a month and an “occasional” four-hour shift on weekdays. .

The measure, which passed with more than 60% of the vote, stipulates that the county executive must relinquish their position if they hold another job or work as a contractor.

Jane Dueker, who is challenging Page in the August Democratic Party primary, called the results “a Sam Page referendum” and said voters “don’t want a part-time county executive.” She called on Page to quit her side job “immediately.”

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Another amendment to the St. Louis County charter limiting the executive branch of the county was also widely won. Proposal A would require the salaries of county executive appointees to be included in his office’s budget — a recommendation in a critical state audit released in 2020 by Missouri Auditor Nicole Galloway. For years, county leaders rolled the salaries of many of their employees into the budgets of other departments, obscuring the true scope and cost of their staff.

These ballot measures are two of the most high-profile of dozens of ballot measures that appeared on ballots in the region on Tuesday.

Voters also denied having leased part of Queeny Park to the Raintree Foundation for the operation of a private school.

Voters Resist Internet Sales Tax

More than 40 municipalities in the region — as well as St. Louis County — had a use tax on the ballot allowing the collection of sales taxes on Internet purchases from out-of-state vendors. Use taxes would mirror sales tax rates and are the latest step in a years-long effort to subject Internet merchants to the same sales taxes as brick-and-mortar stores.

The issue hit the ballot box this year after the Missouri legislature passed enabling state legislation — one of the last in the nation to do so — following a U.S. Supreme Court ruling in 2018 paving the way for local sales tax collection.

But voters in many places rejected the tax clearances, including those in St. Louis County, where they won just 41% of the vote.

Webster Groves, Dellwood, Bellerive Acres, Hanley Hills, Florissant and Shrewsbury were among the only municipalities where the internet sales tax was passed.

Public safety taxes

A proposed sales tax for fire departments and college town pensions was among the most contested issues in the municipal ballot, with organized support both for and against.

Voters rejected the firefighter tax.

A similar quarter-cent sales tax on fire protection in Crestwood, on the other hand, won voter support.

In Shrewsbury, after several quarters of deficit spending, an additional property tax of up to $1 per $100 of property tax assessed value has been approved. The new tax will allow the suburb to more than double its current property tax rate of 56 cents per $100 of property assessment.

And voters in the tiny southern county town of Bella Villa, which has a population of 757, voted against a property tax of $1 per $100, assessment officials said, which would keep the services of the town.

Bella Villa’s 83 acres are surrounded by unincorporated St. Louis County, which is patrolled by St. Louis County Police. More than half of the city’s nearly $500,000 budget is spent on police protection. A November attempt to pass the city’s first property tax failed by a vote.

St. Charles County voters again authorized their half-cent road sales tax for another decade. A sales tax for Jefferson County parks failed by a wide margin. Property tax hikes for parks and swimming pools seemed to pass in Sainte-Anne, but fell short of the necessary four-sevenths in Florissant.

And voters across the region continued to provide strong support for their fire protection districts, with property tax increases in Affton, Mehlville and North County and a bond issue leading the district. Metro West Fire Protection.


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