ST. LOUIS (KMOX) – St. Louis county’s budget gets hit with a surprise machete last night, with transportation, health and parks are all in line for cuts.

All of this was last minute. The Post-Dispatch reports council chairman, democrat Sam Page filed the spending cuts two hours before last night’s meeting. They total $31 million out of the county’s $696 million budget.

The Post-Dispatch says Stenger skipped the meeting and while he was gone, council members passed these cuts 6-to-1, including all the republicans voting yes.

It cuts 20 percent of the budget for parks, 10 percent of transportation and 14 percent of the health department budget. Not everything gets hit with the red pen though. The Post-Dispatch says Page’s proposal would increase the county council’s budget 28 percent.

Page and the republicans who voted for it told the paper that Stenger’s budget had them dipping into reserves too much.

The council also sent reportedly a message last night about a major regional issue having to do with a city-county merger.

The county council isn’t opposed to such a move, just opposed to a statewide vote that would have Joplin and Kansas City deciding St. Louis’ governance. The resolution requested by the Municipal League of Metropolitan St. Louis and some 50 suburbs.

Before the meeting, we asked league director Pat Kelly about the president of the Blues saying their arena funding fight is another reason to merge.

“All of his issues, or the Blues issues really, dealt with the governmental structure of St. Louis city. That’s not a very hard reach to see where their issues are coming from,” he says.

The Post-Dispatch reports the resolution passed the county council 7-nothing.

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