Dear St. Ann Community,
As I write this, we are finally warming up and exiting the brutal late winter cold snap, or “Artic Vortex” as the weather forecasters call it. Our Street Department does a great job with limited staffing. With the implementation of the City-Wide Transportation Development District, we will finally be able to bring the department up to adequate staffing levels to maintain our streets. One of the benefits will be the ability to run two crews for snow removal which will further enhance our ability to tackle winter weather.
The COVID Pandemic continues to impact all of us. Our police department is finally getting their second round of vaccine shots. Unfortunately, most of us are still waiting for adequate supplies.
COVID related economic impacts continue to significantly impact day-to-day City operations. Sales tax revenues have been hit hard. It is unlikely that the City will fill certain vacant staffing positions in the near future. The Community Center and indoor pool remain closed. Both of these facilities are funded by user fees and sales tax revenue. The user fee revenue comes from renting rooms and picnic shelters out to large groups. With the County mandated health order still in place, large groups of people are barred form gathering, so we have lost hundreds of thousands of dollars in revenue to run these facilities. However, we will continue planning for the recovery. The Board of Aldermen recently authorized a planning study (partially funded by a St. Louis County Municipal Park Planning Grant) for the Aquatic Center at Tiemeyer Park. While the facility is closed, it is an excellent time to evaluate the physical, mechanical and operational needs of this 30+ year old facility. We are in early discussions with the City of Overland to explore the joint renovation and future operation of this unique asset.
One bright area is the launch of significant neighborhood street maintenance, repair and reconstruction this summer. $1,000,000 in work is budgeted this year and is funded by the City-Wide Transportation Development District. St. Ann was the first municipality in the State of Missouri to utilize this mechanism on a city-wide level. Other St. Louis County Municipalities are looking to follow our lead, with the City of Kirkwood actively moving forward with establishing one for their street repair needs.
We have also applied for a cost sharing grant with the Missouri Department of Transportation for further enhancements to St. Charles Rock Road, which many of you know is a state owned and maintained road. The state will be repaving and redoing the sidewalks as part of an improvement project and we are looking to do further updates not included in the state’s plan.
Over the last several years, we have made significant progress in balancing our budget, revitalizing our commercial corridor, reinvesting in our park and recreation system and finally talking our biggest challenge, our streets. I look forward to continuing the progress we have made.