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Realtime Blog: Sunset Hills Board of Aldermen Hearing

Meeting includes a hearing and suspension of rules to quickly pass two ordinances.

7:05pm  Six members of Crestwood Girl Scout Troop 1683 donated $100 to the city to replace trees lost in Watson Trail Park as a result of the New Year's Eve tornado.

7:10pm A business at 4504 S. Lindbergh is granted a liquor and business license.

7:13pm   gets a permit for a temporary tent like it has previous years.

7:14pm gets permission to run one-way traffic on Rott Road temporarily during Art Fair May 6,7 and 8.

7:14pm  A public hearing begins over Viking Conference Center to create a CID tax district. Attorney Brad Goss for the takes the podium to answer questions.

Attorney Bob Jones for Sunset Hills explains in general terms that a CID is a political sub-division, that can tax and is run by a board of directors. 

"There's no city expense, as far as I can see it," says city attorney, Jones.

Alderman Frank Hardy, Ward 1, asks the Viking attorney about a $1 million difference over the assessed value and stated value of the property in the documents requesting a CID.

Attorney Goss for the Viking Center said they have a 5-year plan to build a conference center and repay money used for it. It was unclear at the moment who was to be repaid.

Viking requested a 50-year creation of the CID and Alderman Hardy asked why so long. Goss said they may want to continue to build and change and re-pay costs incurred--it leaves them the option to continue developing the location at Watson and Kirkwood roads.

Goss went on to say "banks are not really lending money with any kind of frequency today" and that is why they need the CID in order to develop what Goss describes as "this blighted area."

CID is the acronym for Community Improvement District and sales tax is passed on to customers, Alderman Hardy noted. Taxes are collected by local governments, and disbursed to CID members, often to be used toward development.

There was no other testimony on the CID proposal.

7:25pm Hearing closed on CID.

7:27pm  $206,248 has been collected for the tornado victim's fund and $184,00 has been disbursed to 10 families so far, said city clerk Laura Rider.

7:28pm  City Engineer Anne Lamitola said Sappington Barracks Road is expected to be completed at the end of April, after a longer-than-expected period of work.

7:30pm  Parks and Rec Director Gerald Brown is not here, he's at an event downtown, according to Mayor Bill Nolan.

Mayor Bill Nolan said insurance claims are coming along nicely in relation to the tornado damage. The city has a $5,000 deductible.

7:31pm  Lindbergh School District Board of Education candidate introduces herself to the Board of Aldermen and Mayor. Lorenz said her main reason for running for office are her two kids in the school system. Her second reason is "my past, as a proud alumni of Lindbergh High School" and she said that scholarships she got as a result of special programs at Lindbergh High made it possible for her to go to college. She is the first of her family to go to college, she said. The third reason she is running, she said, is she has been in public service as a state legislator 2009-2010, and learned a lot. "(I) learned more than you ever thought was possible in a short amount of time. I want to use that experience I have to improve the Lindbergh district," Lorenz said.

7:38pm A candidate for Mehlville Fire District Mike Klund takes the podium to say he is against moving a fire house from its location on a triangle of land between Lindbergh and Sappington Barracks Road to a new location across from Lindbergh High School. He said ambulances will take longer to get to houses and yet, Klund said, the fire district wants to raise its taxes on residents. (The Mehlville Fire District protects a portion of Sunset Hills. Fenton covers a different portion.)

7:41pm  Alderman Scott Haggerty asks for a suspension of the rules to speed through the CID creation for Viking Conference center, by allowing the first and second readings of the bill at the same meeting. It passes 7-0. (Aldermen Stephen Webb is not present.)

7:46pm  Alderman Tom Hrastich proposes an amendment to the bill, that includes the state requirements for a CID.

7:45pm  Alderman Frank Hardy commends "Chris Kreutz and his team" over the plans for the Viking Center and is "looking forward to the completion of all this." Kreutz is general manager of the Holiday Inn and Viking Center.

7:46pm the Board of Aldermen unanimously approves the amended ordinance for the CID in a roll call vote.

7:52pm  The board agrees to suspend the rules to speed through two readings of an ordinance to begin eminent domain proceedings against the owner of a sliver of property the city needs to rebuild bridges over creeks. An appraisal of the property is $1,225. City Engineer Anne Lamitola said the owner wants at least $15,000 for the property.

7:50pm  Alderman Frank Hardy questions the move toward seizure of the property by eminent domain, saying he believes the city needs to wait 30 days from after an offer to the owner, in order to move forward. 

City attorney Jones said the city needs to move on the eminent domain in order to make an offer to the owner and start the clock on the 30-day countdown.

Lamitola said the property owner also wants the city to pay back taxes on the lot and take care of any liens on it, in addition to the $15,ooo asking price. "It's a completely unbuildable lot," Lamitola said. The owner bought the property for $44 at a back taxes "fire sale." Lamitola initially made an offer to the owner for about $800.

The city intends to widen a bridge over Tributary B to facilitate traffic flow, and control water flow for property downstream from the point. 

7:57pm  Board votes 5-2 to move forward with eminent domain process 5-2, Hardy and Alderwoman Dee Baebler vote no. Baebler stands for re-election April 5, after being appointed to fill the seat emptied by Bill Nolan after he won his race for mayor.

7:59pm  Mayor Nolan declares April "Arbor Month."

8pm  The board votes to hold a closed meeting immediately after 6-1.  Meeting adjorned.

Jill Arnone March 09, 2011 at 11:21 PM
I had not yet attended a Board of Alderman meeting at City Hall in Sunset Hills, and now I feel like I have. Nice reporting! --- Very interesting!

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