Kevin Killeen (@KMOXKilleen)By Kevin Killeen

CLAYTON, Mo. (KMOX) – The ongoing budget feud in St. Louis County heats up, as the county executive slashes just under $1 million in spending already approved by the council.

Saying it’s unfair for the council to raise its own budget while it cuts $31 million across the board in the county, County Executive Steve Stenger is moving money around into reserve accounts they can’t reach.

“They should be subject to the same cuts as everyone else across county government,” Stenger said.

Announcing the move on the Mark Reardon show on KMOX, Stenger said he has authority under the county charter to move line item expenditures into reserve accounts.

The moves include:

  • Putting $527,000 in new money the county council had approved for its own office into a reserve account where it can’t be spent without Stenger’s approval.
  • Cutting the county council’s existing funding by $240,000 — an amount Stenger claims is equal to the percentage of cuts elsewhere in county government — and putting that money in a reserve account where it can’t be spent without Stenger’s approval.
  • Moving $123,000 in increased spending allocated by the council for the Board of Elections into in a reserve account where it can’t be spent without Stenger’s approval.
  • Cutting $42,000 in travel funding allocated by the county council for the Board of Elections, and moving the money into a reserve account where it can’t be spent without Stenger’s approval.

Stenger claims his executive orders to move the money into reserve accounts cannot be revoked by the council.

Council Chairman Sam Page is calling Stenger’s move a “political stunt with no legal merit.”

Page says they’re meeting with their legal counsel to determine whether to challenge Stenger’s actions in court.

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