CLAYTON (KMOX) – St. Louis County Executive Charlie Dooley withdrew his plan to raise taxes and publicly apologized to County Council members, during their Tuesday meeting.
“I think that’s off the table for right now, so I’m going to leave that alone,” he declared.
The property tax “roll-up,” as Dooley termed it, was a non-starter among legislators from the beginning. Even members of the Democrat’s own party were miffed that he hadn’t discussed with them before going public.
“I didn’t do a very job in communicating to the County Council,” Dooley admitted. “That’s something I need to do a better job on.”
He said he looked forward to drafting a budget with “honesty and integrity,” which would address a projected drop-off in revenue.
Councilwoman Colleen Wasinger is already crunching the numbers.
“Eliminate positions which are not filled, but funded,” she suggested, of jobs which have gone empty due to a hiring freeze. “Second, take a look at consultant fees and see what we really need.”
Wasinger added that future large, expensive capital projects, like the currently-underway animal shelter, health center and crime lab, would probably have to stay on the drawing board for a bit longer.
“And if [the economy] continues to be that way, we are going to have to eliminate things permanently.”
Council members seem to agree that county employees deserve a raise after three years of going without, but are split on whether one is possible this year.
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