ELLISVILLE (KMOX) – There’s an effort afoot to recall two of the so-called “Walmart Five” — five council members who voted to give Sansone Group tax incentives for a new Walmart location.
Opponents met for an organizing session at West County Lanes on Tuesday night.
They call themselves the “Article 9 Alliance,” and were told that 15-percent of registered voters would need to sign a petition. Their goal is an election in October. Dawn Anglin and Troy Pieper are their targets.
Reasons for the recall depended on the person. Some said they didn’t have a problem with Walmart, but with the millions in tax increment financing, or TIF, dollars being awarded to the developer. Others cited the forced eviction of 250 residents of the Clarkchester Apartments. Many had traffic and other environmental concerns.
But most agreed that, in their opinion, city leaders ignored the will of the people.
“In 2011, 64-percent of the voters in Ellisville passed a half cent sales tax increase, because then-Mayor Pirrello said they needed it to keep the Walmart TIF out,” Elizabeth Schmidt explained, adding that the TIF was then proposed a couple of months later.
She said that she believes the majority of Ellisville residents are opposed to the project as it currently stands, pointing to the recent mayoral election where anti-TIF candidates garnered 72-percent of the vote. She also recalled standing room-only crowds of opposition at recent council meetings, which had to be moved to a local elementary school to handle the crush.
Schmidt shocked many when she announced that sales tax rates at the store would be higher than 10-percent.
“It’s outrageous!” she exclaimed. “It doesn’t make any sense. I think shoppers, once they figure out that they’ll have to pay ten percent plus in sales tax, will avoid that store like the plague.”