Grant Mabie for Crestwood Board of Aldermen
Mabie is one of two candidates running in Ward III.
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Grant Mabie, 30, 7947 Camelot Lane
Occupation: Attorney at Sauerwein Simon & Hein P.C., with most of my practice dedicated to real estate matters
Education: J.D. from Saint Louis University School of Law, and a B.S. in Business and Management Systems from The University of Missouri-Rolla (now known as Missouri University of Science and Technology)
Family: Married to Patty Mabie, a math teacher at Lafayette Senior High School, and we have two daughters, Anne (age 2 1/2) and Claire (age 8 months)
Years lived in the City of Crestwood: 7 years this May
Please provide a brief summary of your background, highlighting community involvement: In addition to practicing law, I am also a real estate broker and a member of the St. Louis Association of Realtors®. I am a member of the Missouri Bar Association (Property Law Committee), The Illinois State Bar Association and the Bar Association of Metropolitan St. Louis. I serve as director and officer of The Alumni House Fund Association (a Missouri benevolent corporation) and as a director of the Beta Chi Educational Foundation (a Missouri not-for-profit corporation). I am a member of Webster Groves Presbyterian Church, but presently attend services at First Presbyterian Church of Ferguson with my wife's parents.
Please provide a brief summary of your reasons for running: I was disappointed that the Board of Alderman was unable to productively move forward with a plan to redevelop the former Crestwood Mall property, while at the same time insisting to residents that a property tax increase was necessary because sales taxes were down. I was also disappointed by the fact that Crestwood paid its former City Administrator seven months severance and 12 months of health insurance due to issues that are now shrouded in secrecy due to a confidentiality agreement. I intend to raise my family in Crestwood, and I want to make sure that the city thrives.
What do you currently see at the biggest issue facing the City of Crestwood? The decision on whether to proceed with the Centrum redevelopment of the former Crestwood mall using tax-increment financing is undoubtedly the biggest issue facing Crestwood. The vacant site has led to a steep decline in the sales tax revenues of Crestwood, and the loss of traffic to the mall has hurt businesses all along Watson Road. As a Point of Sale City, Crestwood relies heavily on sales taxes, which allows property taxes to remain low. In order to continue to provide excellent municipal services and have a low property tax rate, the redevelopment of the mall site is critical.
In what area does the city need to improve? Are you satisfied with the way the city as been operating? I think the City's employees do a great job, and I'm pleased with the operation of Crestwood's fire, police, parks, and public works departments, especially given the difficult economy recently. The main area that the City needs to improve upon is its financial position. The future budgets show a concerning amount of deficits, and the City needs to have a plan to stay debt-free and keep the budgets balanced. I am hoping the new City Administrator will make this one of his top priorities. Finally, I think the City can do more to improve its relationships with existing businesses.
What are your thoughts on the progress of redevelopment of Crestwood Court? There has not been much progress made with the current Board. I am cautiously optimistic about the project and its potential as a catalyst for increased revenues and the future economic health of Crestwood. The private investment in the site, exclusive of the proposed TIF amount, would be the largest investment in Crestwood in a generation. However, I think there are legitimate questions that Centrum still needs to answer concerning the second phase of the development, and concerning the tenants that have committed to the project or are willing to commit to the project upon its approval.
Assume you win the election. What single thing do you want to accomplish during your time on the board? A successful redevelopment of the Crestwood mall site that results in a reversal of Crestwood's financial projections from red ink to black ink, and ideally draws consumers from outside of Crestwood to both the new development and other existing Crestwood businesses. If Crestwood's financial picture improves, I would like to see the City give its employees fair raises, improve the streets and parks, catch up on deferred maintenance and capital projects, improve its reserves to guard against future economic uncertainty, and keep property taxes as low as possible.