Council Candidate Robert Srote Wants Ellisville to Move Forward, Stop 'Squandering City Resources'
Srote is running for a seat on Ellisville's City Council in municipal elections April 2.
Patch sent all local candidates for office identical questionnaires to compile candidate profiles prior to the April election. Each candidate who returned the survey will be featured on the site in order of his or her response.
Robert Srote, Ellisville City Council District 3 Candidate
Address: 1378 Marsh Avenue
Occupation: Architect/Owner of Schaub + Srote, Architects | Planners | Interiors
Education: MBA from Maryville University's John E. Simon School of Business
Family: Spouse: Colleen Srote; two children, one attending Kansas University the other Ellisville Elementary in the fall
Years lived in Ellisville: 6
As an MBA graduate, architect, and small business owner I feel that I have the qualifications and skill set necessary to make educated/professional decisions to positively impact the future of Ellisville.
Reasons for Running
I am seeking the office of District 3 Council Member because I feel that I have the proper qualifications. I am a concerned citizen, a small business owner, have a graduate level education, and an amicable personality; all traits that have the potential to positively benefit our city.
What excites you about living in Ellisville? What do you want to change?
As of late there has not been much excitement associated with living in Ellisville. The negative media coverage, loss of business, and wasteful use of city resources dealing with the former have created a city divided. Moving forward, I would strive to bring the city council together to focus our collective energies on improving our community. Squandering city resources on issues that have already been settled is preposterous. It is time to come together and rally around a plan to attract new and unique businesses to our area. Family-owned businesses, like Faracci’s, that bring people into our city due to the high quality of their product. Once patrons are drawn in to the city, they may stop off at other businesses spending additional capital further increasing city revenue.
What are your views on the past year's recall efforts, mayor impeachment discussion and Walmart development proceedings?
Regarding the recall efforts, that issue has already been adjudicated and spending any more time on that issue would be wasteful. Regarding the mayor impeachment; our city has a Home Rule Charter approved by residents in 1993 defining and limiting the powers of city officials. If it is determined that the Mayor has violated this voter-approved Charter his dismissal would be justified; if not the city council must move forward to perform the legislative duties of the city without political bias. The current gridlock and subsequent failure to act on important city matters is crippling the economic development of our city. Finally, Walmart has been an emotionally charged debate for the last two years in our city. The bottom line is that the development has been approved and the best use of city resources moving forward would be to focus on attracting additional businesses to our area to increase the city’s operating revenue.
Are you pro-TIF, anti-TIF or believe there are situational uses of TIF in Ellisville?
TIF is a complex issue. The argument for TIF is that it has the potential to attract development and improve infrastructure in areas that would otherwise remain undeveloped. The argument against TIF is that tax breaks are being handed out to large corporations while local small businesses continue paying their taxes. In some cases the small businesses pay their taxes only to be put out of business by the large corporations receiving tax breaks via TIF. It’s really a catch-22.
That being said, until TIF is taken off of the table permanently via statewide legislation (which I believe will ultimately occur) Ellisville cannot afford to sit idly by while other communities such as Manchester and Chesterfield Valley lure our businesses away by utilizing TIF. So, I am Anti-TIF on a macro level because it merely shifts revenue from one community to the next. It does not create “new” revenues macro-economically speaking.
On a microeconomic level TIF does create new revenue. For example, Gordman’s relocated to Chesterfield Valley from their Ellisville location. No “new” tax revenue was generated because of this TIF influenced relocation on a macro level; the tax revenue previously being earned by Ellisville was simply shifted to Chesterfield’s books. In this instance, TIF benefited Chesterfield to the detriment of Ellisville. For that reason, TIF cannot be ruled out as an economic tool as long as other municipalities are actively using it to attract businesses to their area.
What do you view as Ellisville's greatest accomplishment(s) in the past five years?
In 2009 Ellisville was ranked #25 by Money magazine on their annual Best Places to Live in America list. That recognition and positive publicity made me proud to be a resident. Unfortunately, as of late the only publicity Ellisville receives is in regard to the circus atmosphere created as a result of the dysfunction of our elected officials.
Assume you win the election. What single thing do you want to accomplish during your term?
If elected, I would like to see the city council take a leadership role in bringing our divided community back together so that we can successfully utilize city resources to benefit the community. Our small town cannot afford to squander a single dollar of revenue on political bickering and legal wrangling. Our city leaders need to facilitate the healing process within our community and I intend to use my position as council member to expedite that process.