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Ellisville Mayor-Elect Considers Savings Measures

Adam Paul, who is scheduled to be sworn into office Wednesday, discussed potential cost saving measures for Ellisville recently that include fees for brush pickup.

Ellisville Mayor-Elect Adam Paul said changes to city services including fees for brush pickup may be worth pursuing as the city considers long-term financial proposals.

A proposed Walmart in Ellisville is projected to create roughly $500,000 annually toward the City's $9 million yearly budget. In addition to a sales tax referendum approved last spring, the proposal to draw Walmart to the city was one of several revenue generators city council members have considered to compensate for what Mayor Matt Pirrello previously described as increasing costs to do business.

In informal discussions earlier this month, Paul and Pirrello discussed measures that ranged from charging a fee for brush pickup to becoming a "pool" city under St. Louis County's tax sharing agreement. Paul also talked with Pirrello about the possibility of consolidating the Ellisville Police Department and contracting for law enforcement services under St. Louis County Police—an idea Paul said he was not in favor of, but was one of several proposals discussed.

"I don't ever want to go that route," Paul said. "Our police department is second to none."

"We were talking about how it would be awful to have 2-minute response times opposed to whatever the county provides," Paul said.

"I was just trying to gauge from (Mayor Pirrello) a perspective of how financially strapped are we and what are our options of what we woud lose or could lose if we didn't move forward with this, because if there's none, then we should kill this (Walmart) deal off right from the bat," Paul said. "There's just too much negative public outcry to move forward."

Paul, who was elected mayor April 3 and is scheduled to be sworn into office Wednesday, ran a campaign centered around opposition to the proposed Walmart, which would be built southwest of Clarkson and Kiefer Creek roads. The development, which would be overseen by the Sansone Group, may be granted a TIF district, which the principal developer with the project said was essential to the Walmart being built. If approved, the tax increment financing district would capture half of all new sales tax growth that results at the site for up to 23 years and put it into a fund meant for investments in surrounding local infrastructure.

Although a vote over the TIF district is scheduled on Wednesday's city council agenda, Paul said it's extremely unlikely the issue will be voted on this week.

"If it's not a must-have, then I don't know why we'd hurry up and rush into a situation and (Mayor Pirrello) agreed," Paul said. "We're not going to rush into anything or make any assumptions."

In addition to opponents of the TIF and by extension Wal-mart, many residents of Clarkchester Apartments have contacted city hall with concerns related to a re-location policy the city council also is likely to soon vote on; Clarkchester Apartments are among the businesses located within the parcels marked for the Walmart development. If the proposed relocation policy is approved, each household located within Clarkchester Apartments would be granted up to $1,000 for moving costs.

Paul said that because Clarkchester Apartments and other businesses at the site already are at least generating property taxes at the site, those areas do already generate some funds for the city. 

Paul said that regardless of whether a Walmart is built in the city, certain services such as garbage pickup should not be subject to a fees.

"Because that's a service the city really appreciates for the money that we pay," Paul said. Leaf and brush pickup, however, may be an option for city savings.

"I think the people would be willing to handle that, more or less, twice a year to dump bags at a landfill or at our actual Ellisville public works site," Paul said.

Paul said any talks about cost savings measures are in very early stages, however, and he still is learning the city's budget for detailed projections on finances.

"That's information that I'm going to have to gather and look into from a business perspective as far as what's a viable option as far as what we do moving forward."

Paul will be sworn in as mayor at the city council's next meeting at 7 p.m. Wednesday as Ellisville Elementary School.

JustRob April 20, 2012 at 06:46 PM
Chew on, think about, ponder... do you think you are having a professional conversation? But if that is how you think these conversations go then I will use your own "professional language" "Anyhow", in your opinion if you owned Burger King, you have no problem with all the businesses around you placing signs on your property? Perhaps a giant hand painted bowling pin? Maybe someone will reopen The Rink can they put giant sparkling skates in front of your restaurant as well? I will not take this out of context completely and somehow make my comment into something about walmart as I was only discussing signs and explain why the regulations are the way they are.
Charles Pavlack April 20, 2012 at 06:46 PM
I'm not sure what you mean by the city funding Wal-Mart. I assumed from our conversation that you understood how TIF worked. The only people who would be funding Wal-Mart are the people that shop there. The only taxes which go to pay the TIF are one half of the new taxes generated by the Wal-Mart (over and above what little tax revenue there is now from the site). And there was a variance for the sign code for the bowling alley on the agenda for the Architecture Review Board last Wednesday, but no representative from the bowling alley showed up, so it was continued to the first meeting in May. I can't speak for the applicant, but I would think that if I was trying to get the city to give me a variance on something, the least I could do would be to show up. Hopefully, it was a miscommunication. I'm not on that committee, so I don't get a vote, but I would think that the bowling alley, moreso than many businesses in our community, would be ripe for just such a variance; it's been there longer than the current sign code has been in place, and really does suffer for people not knowing where it is. Full disclosure: I frequent the bowling alley. I'm not much of a bowler, but both my wife and daughter are, so I'm there usually at least once a week, at least during the school year.
Charles Pavlack April 20, 2012 at 06:49 PM
One of the things being discussed as part of the Great Streets Initiative is better signage to let people know about some of the businesses that are not right on the road.
Alexandra April 20, 2012 at 07:19 PM
That is fantastic! Nothing overwhelming I hope, and to be quit honest the Great Streets initiative is the least of our concerns. Ellisville's recovery should be our major concern, because the surrounding cities are not suffering nearly as bad. Again, adjusting our focus on what direction the city should go in possibly should be up for discussion.
K James April 20, 2012 at 08:02 PM
I don't mean to ask silly questions but ES do you even own property in Clarkchester. Because from my understanding all of the owners said yes to a voluntary buyout? If you are a renter, it is your landlord who is selling out your apartment and not the city of Ellisville. Even if walmart does not come in, Clarkchester is zoned commercial and eventually it will be commercial regardless.
E. Schmidt April 20, 2012 at 09:05 PM
>>>it is your landlord who is selling out your apartment and not the city of Ellisville. <<< Don't even pretend that the city is not aiding and abetting this "legalized extortion." This kind of abuse is why the state legislature is trying to put a stop to it. The majority of owners have a gun to their head with the threat of eminent domain. If the developer didn't have this weapon to use, none of us would be having this conversation. This is what happens to business owners and landlords who fight it. >>>Homer Tourkakis: A dentist in the City of Arnold who fought the taking of his business all the way to the state Supreme Court, Tourkakis ultimately lost his battle against eminent domain, and was forced to sell his property. However, Tourkakis has since opened a new dental office, Eminent Dental.<<< http://showmeinstitute.org/eminent-domain-apr12
K James April 20, 2012 at 09:21 PM
aiding and abetting? Do you not get it that it is YOUR LANDLORD who is selling?
E. Schmidt April 20, 2012 at 09:29 PM
Do you not get they have a gun to their head because it is a TIF proposal and it's a rigged game?...or did you not see the mention of the dentist who tried to fight it and took it all the way to the State Supreme Court and lost?
K James April 20, 2012 at 09:39 PM
.E. you want to be angry. I do understand that. However, as a renter your rage should be centered squarely with the person who made an investment in purchasing a property that you could rent. Their financial assets are on the line, they are profiting from selling to Sansone. Renters don't have the rights that owners do. Owners are responsible for the taxes, upkeep, maintenence etc on their properties, as renters you are there for a short time, while they take all the long term risk. Truly I admire your passion on this issue. I have not heard a single owner say that a gun was held to their head and they were forced or coerced into selling. it is business, while you have put all of your aggressions til now on TIF and Walmart, perhaps it is time to start putting all of that great energy into being a positive force.
K James April 20, 2012 at 09:45 PM
E; It is still not your fight. no matter what you so energetically espouse. You don't have any financial skin in this game. other than the cost associated with moving, which I do believe that Ellisville is going to assist with, not out of any have to, but out of CAN do.
E. Schmidt April 20, 2012 at 10:03 PM
So, are you saying that adult Ellisville residents have no rights or say in city government? Only property owners? How very quaint and 18th century of you. [The last I checked, adult Ellisville residents can vote...renters and homeowners alike.] You've just demonstrated that you are as politically tone-deaf as the majority of the city council. It's everybody's fight...and more are joining day by day. For your reference as times have changed. In order to vote in Missouri, you must: Be a U.S. citizen Be a Missouri resident Be at least 18 years old by the day of the election You must also be registered in the jurisdiction of your domicile before the election. You cannot vote if you: Have been declared incapacitated Are imprisoned Were convicted of a felony or misdemeanor related to voting Are on probation or parole after a felony conviction
K James April 20, 2012 at 10:08 PM
E - I am not 18th century, Sorry, but if you had read what I said, I said that your beef is with your LANDLORD not the city. You signed a contract to RENT his property. I NEVER SAID YOU HAD NO RIGHTS. COME ON. You just don't have a say so as to whether or NOT the owner of your building SELLS HIS OWN PROPERRTY. GROW UP E. You know exactly what I was saying, you are too intelligent from what I have seen written on here to grossly mis-interpret what I was saying.
K James April 20, 2012 at 10:14 PM
E - Please don't ever put words into my mouth. and your above littany of who can vote is insulting to me. Politically tone deaf? Give me a break, the people on the city counsel put themselves out there every day, making decisions that affect ALL of their residents. If you could possibly come down from your hatred for a few seconds and realize that things are more complicated than you realize in maintaining a balance for all of the citizens of this town.
Charles Pavlack April 20, 2012 at 10:15 PM
I think you're overstating it quite a bit, Katie. The residents of Clarkchester certainly have "skin in the game", due to the fact that they're the ones that are going to have to relocate. And no amount of argument is going to convince Ms Schmidt that Ellisville is not evicting her from her home. And I certainly believe that some of the landlords in question have told their renters that they agreed to sell because they didn't want to fight Eminent Domain. But if they're that concerned about their residents, I reiterate that I'm surprised that some of them have not come forward and said "Yes, I signed a contract to sell. I really didn't want to, but I was afraid that I'd eventually be forced to sell via Eminent Domain, so I figured I'd cut my losses early." Not one of them. That said, I don't know how much more I can offer to the conversation. I've said my piece, and attempted to answer questions as best I can. I've tried to be polite and not condescend to anyone or get personal, but I'm not sure how long I can keep repeating myself and address the same points over and over and continue maintaining the tone I set for myself. So I'm more than willing to answer questions or address new points, but I'm done with repeating myself. See you all on May 2. Michael, we even allow "furriners" in. :)
Charles Pavlack April 20, 2012 at 10:16 PM
Agreed, Alexandra, but as long as we can make some of the improvements with grant money via the GSI, we should. That takes one more line item away from budget things we have to worry about.
E. Schmidt April 20, 2012 at 10:19 PM
KJames, This goes back to the use of TIF, which is a state statute and therefore political issue. And as with any political issue, anyone can engage, property owner or not. >>>You just don't have a say so as to whether or NOT the owner of your building SELLS HIS OWN PROPERRTY.<<< And apparently neither does the property owner....remember the Arnold dentist who had it taken from him. There are many more such examples, local and national that you can conveniently ignore as well.
K James April 20, 2012 at 10:25 PM
OK E. UNCLE I cry. I am finished bantering with you. You DO NOTHING to try to work with solutions, you only hate. It has gotten old. Bitterness and hatred are only emotions that create wrinkles on someones face, they solve nothing. and serve only to make others unhappy. WE ALL GET IT YOU DON"T WANT TO MOVE, so please stop bleating about big bad tiff, big bad walmart, it is only that you don't want to move. BE HONEST.
E. Schmidt April 20, 2012 at 10:49 PM
KJames, Re: political tone-deafness... I am not the one who is telling Ellisville residents they have no interest in the fight, skin in the game, etc.. As voters, taxpayers and residents, they have both. This is not a private fight. Anyone can join in.
Chase Castle April 20, 2012 at 11:28 PM
Glad to see that several people have in fact joined the discussion, and thanks for keeping things on-point, everyone.
E. Schmidt April 21, 2012 at 01:15 PM
Yes. My understanding is there are some legal issues.
Michael Rhodes April 22, 2012 at 01:21 AM
Funny Charles, very funny. I just may have to attend if I can find my passport.
Michael Rhodes April 23, 2012 at 06:25 PM
Alexandra: Have you had an opportunity to review my questions in response to your personal attack on me?
Alexandra April 23, 2012 at 06:45 PM
Michael, I did not 'personally attack you'. This is an online forum and I merely stated my position, which opposed yours. I did not use abusive remarks so we are crystal clear; if anyone uses abusive language I am sure it would be flagged as inappropriate. I intentially decided not to respond to you to avoid aggressive interaction that I sensed on the horizon; not from my end. Anyhow, have a great day and I hope you keep your online debates light-hearted! =)
Michael Rhodes April 23, 2012 at 07:07 PM
Alexandra: Not sure how this, "It is official, everyone should discredit anything you say moving forward. This time you definitely put your foot in your mouth. ", is not considered a personal attack against me. My post back to you was to clarify why you think my opinion was not welcome. If you have read any of my other posts I have never attacked or gotten personal with another poster. When I am questioned (as you did) I attempt to clairfy why.
Michael Rhodes April 23, 2012 at 07:09 PM
Based on your replay I will go ahead and anwser your question below.
Michael Rhodes April 23, 2012 at 07:16 PM
In general terms I support the TIF as I see it as a "optional" tax. As in those who choose to shop at that location pay for it. Not only do I shop at Wl-Mart I think it will be good for Ellisville and the surronding communities. I even have an example why. Just two weeks ago I need to get my son a jacket. Wal-Mart did not have any so I drove to Kohls. They also did not have any. I then drove to Target (should have stopped there after Wal-Mart) where I located one. One item that you would have thought Wal-Mart and Kohls would have had. Target gained a sale while the others lost. As a consumer it is nice to have options. I think some businesses will benefit from a Wal-Mart and yes others will suffer (Kmart).
Alexandra April 23, 2012 at 07:34 PM
Michael, I apologize for upseting you. It appears the Ellisville situation clearly concerns you and thank you for caring so much about a city that is near your city.We will have to agree to disagree on many issues. Have a great day!
E. Schmidt April 23, 2012 at 11:07 PM
We want to provide "cheap financing" to bring this Great American Company to Ellisville? Vast Mexico Bribery Case Hushed Up by Wal-Mart After Top-Level Struggle Confronted with evidence of widespread corruption in Mexico, top Wal-Mart executives focused more on damage control than on rooting out wrongdoing, an examination by The New York Times found. http://www.nytimes.com/2012/04/22/business/at-wal-mart-in-mexico-a-bribe-inquiry-silenced.html?_r=1&hp On the positive side, I heard on the NBC evening news that this could result in the incarceration of some corporate executives.
E. Schmidt April 29, 2012 at 03:23 PM
Charles you wrote-- >>>When I inquired about it with our city, they said there was an agreement that they'd divert at least a percentage of their revenue under the TIF back to bond repayment.<<< So, if there is no legal liability for the City of Ellisville on the bond debt service, then why did the city agree to divert at least a percentage of their revenue under the TIF back to bond repayment? Again, why? Why indebt ourselves when it is not necessary?...and not required by state statute? Something about this stinks. Is this financial malfeasance? I'd like someone in authority to explain this.
Charles Pavlack April 29, 2012 at 05:13 PM
I'm sorry. My comment obviously contained a pronoun that confused you. My entire comment is below, with the pronoun replaced with the word BALLWIN. Ellisville has made no such agreement. If I understood correctly, they have agreed to some pass-through, to keep the other taxing districts "whole". "Michael, one of the things that Mayor Paul posted during his campaign was a reference to the 2012 Ballwin budget that contained an entry making payments to the TIF bonds from the city's general fund. When I inquired about it with our city, they said there was an agreement that BALLWIN would divert at least a percentage of their revenue under the TIF back to bond repayment. I only know what I was told when I asked someone to explain why those payments were being made. I do know the person I spoke to spoke to someone in Ballwin." If you read the comment in the context of my discussion with Michael Rhodes regarding the difference between the Ballwin TIF, the meaning should have been clear. I'm sorry that it wasn't. But you were at the Council meeting two weeks ago when the City Attorney said all of this, so I don't understand why you're still questioning it. Frankly, I don't care. All of this said, I answered your question because it was directed at me, and based on a misreading of something I had written previously. As with Alexandra earlier this week, I have grown tired of the talking in circles, so I'm withdrawing from commenting on the Patch.

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