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Pirrello Passes Walmart TIF Vote onto New Mayor

Ellisville Mayor-Elect Adam Paul is expected to be sworn in at the city council's April 18 meeting.

With the support of all but one city council member, current Mayor Matt Pirrello said Wednesday night's scheduled vote regarding a tax incentive for a possible Ellisville Walmart will wait until Mayor-Elect Adam Paul is sworn in.

The motion to continue the vote until the next council meeting—the of a vote for the proposed tax increment financing district—received a mixed response from the capacity crowd in attendance at .

In addition to the proposal regarding a tax incentive for the Sansone Group—the development firm facilitating the project—the council was scheduled to vote on a related proposal that hinges on the TIF ordinance's passage which would give households within Clarkchester Apartments, which sit at the proposed development site, up to $1,000 each for relocation costs. Pirrello said the proposed relocation policy will not go into effect unless the TIF proposal, too, is approved.

Ellisville resident Dan Duffy said the relocation policy shouldn't exist.

"If you're on the council and you want to not feel guilt about evicting residents, don't pay them," Duffy told the council. "Just don't evict them."

David Cook, President of Local 655, a retail and manufacturing union based in Ballwin, was one of several speakers Wednesday who said Paul winning the mayoral seat should be viewed as a sort of public referendum on the TIF; the Walmart development was the central and almost sole focus of Paul's campaign, which led to a strong

"The vote in the recent election is clear that residents have a concern about this," Cook said.

In line with that sentiment, Pirrello and a majority of council members agreed to vote on the TIF proposal at a later date.

"At the request of our newly elected mayor, who made a formal request that we continue those (proposals) so he can be a part of the deliberation, the council, without any objections, should agree that he should be a part of that deliberation," Pirrello said.

All but one member of the seven-member city council approved the decision to further wait on voting; Councilmember Clark Compton, whose last council meeting was Wednesday, cast the sole 'no' vote.

The Ellisville City Council will next meet on April 18 at , when Mayor-Elect Adam Paul is expected to be sworn in.

E. Schmidt April 05, 2012 at 05:28 PM
In the Fall of 2010 roughly 3/4 of Ellisville residents who were informally polled said they opposed a Walmart coming to Ellisville. In the Spring of 2011 voters approved a half-percent additional sales tax which many believed would end Mayor Pirrello’s talk of a Walmart as a the best alternative to a sales tax increase. Less than a year later we found ourselves embroiled in a Walmart TIF battle anyway. We’ve now conducted a third, more formal “poll." Last night at the city council meeting a few speakers, including myself, noted that this past Tuesday’s mayoral election was a clear referendum against the Walmart TIF. The candidates opposing the TIF combined received an overwhelming majority of votes cast with Adam Paul, the most vociferous opponent, receiving a decisive plurality of 44% in a field of four candidates. If the new city council cannot hear the will of the voters, the citizens of Ellisville have three tools at their disposal to amplify the message. Article 9 of the city charter provides for Initiative, Referendum and Recall. We do not have to accept the decision of tone-deaf politicians who have no problem with handing out welfare to the wealthy, giving a taxpayer subsidized leg-up to a global mega-corporation (and its myriad of related tax-dodging entities) so it can stomp locally-owned small businesses with the other foot, wreck affordable housing and disrupt the lives of hundreds of people for projected revenue--which may never materialize.
Michael Rhodes April 05, 2012 at 07:15 PM
Would another way to look at it is that about 92% of Ellisville residents did not vote for Mayor Elect Paul and therefor support the planned TIF?
E. Schmidt April 05, 2012 at 07:26 PM
Seemingly clever twist of the math. Decisions are made by those who show up. Those who showed up at the polls gave an overwhelming majority of their votes to the anti-TIF candidates and a decisive plurality to one. Try again.
Michael Rhodes April 05, 2012 at 07:44 PM
I agree with you. To try and link the election results to a referendrum is where I think you errored. That is what my post showed. Just becuse someone voted for Mayor Elect Paul does not automaticlly mean they opposed the TIF. Is a large number of those 708 votes anti-tif? I would venture a guess they are. I bet some of those votes were anti-Wal-Mart only and not anti-TIF. If the project was for Target or an Apple store some might support a TIF. I hope for Ellisville's sake that all Mayor Elect Pauls's votes were not solely based on his TIF stance and that those voters learned about his stance on other issues as well. Mayor Elect Paul will be called upon to decide many other issues during his term. As an example he and I both agree on red light cameras. Hopefully with Mayor Elect Paul in office we will see those cameras coming down soon. Were all 708 votes also against the use of those cameras?
E. Schmidt April 05, 2012 at 08:31 PM
Of course we'll never know with mathematical certainty which votes for which candidate expressed exactly what sentiment. It hardly makes my link between the mayoral election and a "Walmart TIF referendum" any less valid. A surprising number of attendees at last night's city council meeting viewed it the same way and heard the will of the voters...as they are not tone-deaf either. I think we can assume that a large percentage of those votes for the winning candidate were a vote against TIF and or Walmart and or a Walmart TIF. From the brief comments I heard Mayor-elect Paul make, I believe he was disappointed that the focus of his campaign seemed to become one issue. Since the issue before us is in fact a TIF for Sansone Group, with revenues in the millions, to build a store on behalf of Walmart, a global corporation with net sales of hundreds of billions of dollars, Target and Apple stores and red light cams are beside the point. When 100+ plus people turn out for a city council meeting involving any of those issues, we can discuss them then.
Charles Pavlack April 05, 2012 at 08:52 PM
Ms Schmidt, if Mr. Paul didn't want to make that issue the focus of his campaign, then why did he have it on every one of his signs? I suspect he doth protest too much. The problem with your response is that the Mayor has to deal with all of those issues, whether or not 100+ people show up to the meetings. Being an elected official is not restricted to dealing with only the issues on which people yell the loudest. It's an axiom in politics that the people who are against something speak out more, and speak out more loudly. I know that there have been people at all of the meetings involving TIF that were in favor of it, but didn't speak out. Some don't feel comfortable speaking in public. Others don't want to put themselves in line for ridicule, abuse, or threats. I've never been smart that way. :) I was at the polls all day on Tuesday, and there were a large number of people who voted for Mr. Paul simply because of Wal-Mart, and couldn't tell you where he stood on anything else. I say that with certainty. I have been highly critical of Mr. Paul on this website, but I was also the first one to post congratulations to him (as soon as the results were in), and congratulated him in person last evening. As a resident of Ellisville, I hope he proves my evaluation of him wrong. His test as mayor won't come on how he votes when he's got a vocal majority behind him. It will be how he makes the tough decisions when everyone stops showing up.
E. Schmidt April 05, 2012 at 09:42 PM
>>>if Mr. Paul didn't want to make that issue the focus of his campaign, then why did he have it on every one of his signs?...<<< You would have to ask him directly. I believe being disappointed that your campaign became focused on one issue and taking advantage of the opportunity to highlight your stance are not mutually exclusive. It is often the hallmark of a savvy politician. Campaigns for office are like a river...you have to go where they take you. >>>The problem with your response is that the Mayor has to deal with all of those issues, whether or not 100+ people show up to the meetings....<<< My point was these comments involve the delayed Walmart TIF vote, not Mayor-elect Paul's ability or inability to deal with other issues. >>>It's an axiom in politics that the people who are against something speak out more, and speak out more loudly.<<< Decisions are not only made by people who show up, but people who speak up. >>>I was at the polls all day on Tuesday, and there were a large number of people who voted for Mr. Paul simply because of Wal-Mart, and couldn't tell you where he stood on anything else. I say that with certainty.<<< That doesn't make his win at the polls somehow less valid or those people you speak of bad or poorly informed voters. Many people are "one issue" voters who know what they want. At least we know the winning candidate was not tone-deaf on the issue of a Walmart TIF which is a bonus in my opinion.
E. Schmidt April 06, 2012 at 12:02 PM
I failed to note that the 2011 Prop A Sales Tax Increase which many hoped would stop Mayor Pirrello's talk of a Walmart being the best solution to to a sales tax increase passed with an overwhelming majority of 64%. Since Ellisville residents pay 40% of all sales tax themselves, that was quite a statement. So in the past three years we have had: Two anti-Walmart TIF "polls" by proxy -- a 2011 sales tax increase with 64% voting yes preferring increased sales taxes city wide as an alternative to Walmart and a 2012 mayoral election where voters gave both anti-Walmart TIF candidates a combined 72% vote--both votes taken in the secrecy of the polling booth where anyone who was afraid of retribution had no reason to fear... One 2010 direct informal poll where 75% indicated they did not want a Walmart in Ellisville and had no fear of speaking up at all. If the people of Ellisville feel they are not being listened to by their elected representatives it is little wonder. Clearly they are being ignored and even denigrated as by some as "uninformed." I don't see how they could make their sentiment any clearer unless they use Initiative, Referendum and Recall to get the attention of the city council. Perhaps we should all become more familiar with Article 9 of the City Charter since public meetings, direct polling and traditional elections don't seem to work. http://www.ellisville.mo.us/index.asp?Type=B_BASIC&SEC={10310EAD-4DB8-4AB5-AF74-56A002996E8B}
E. Schmidt April 06, 2012 at 08:52 PM
With any kind of luck this is the end of TIF as we know it. The "adults" in government have had enough of the municipal "kids" stealing from each other's rooms and are about to administer some tough love. It looks like the "adults" are going to grab the "kids" by the scruff of the neck and drag them all the way up to the "moral high ground" and deliver a much deserved spanking. http://www.newsmagazinenetwork.com/2012040617627/ehlmann-tif-bill-would-let-people-have-final-say/ >>>County Executive Steve Ehlmann said Friday, April 6, he was pleased with the action of the Missouri Senate, which unanimously approved a bill that would make it more difficult for municipalities to give tax increment financing (TIF) benefits to developers. Sponsored by Sen. Scott Rupp, R-Wentzville, the bill would prohibit city governments from overruling TIF commissions that have rejected such proposals. Instead, TIFs rejected by the commissions could take effect only if approved by a two-thirds majority of voters in a countywide election....<<<
Michael Rhodes April 06, 2012 at 09:13 PM
I was hoping they would do away with the commission and make all TIF projects require a county wide vote. That way everyone (voting residents anyway) affected would have a say. As an example if the Sansone TIF goes through there has been comments that it won't generate "new" taxes only take them from other locations. If the commision had approved then it could take tax revenue from another location for this location (that isn't also TIF supported) that never had a say in the process. I personally have more respect for local government over state and/or federal. Folks like Paul are not serving for the money or retirement benefits so I would be hesitant to say "the adults" in government are at the state/federal level.
Michael Rhodes April 06, 2012 at 09:28 PM
E. Schmidt: "Two anti-Walmart TIF "polls" by proxy -- a 2011 sales tax increase with 64% voting yes preferring increased sales taxes city wide as an alternative to Walmart and a 2012 mayoral election where voters gave both anti-Walmart TIF candidates a combined 72% vote--both votes taken in the secrecy of the polling booth where anyone who was afraid of retribution had no reason to fear..." How do you account for the current mayor winning (narrowly) and the other two districts winning with 96% and 97%. I was under the impression both of those council members are yes votes as well.
Michael Rhodes April 06, 2012 at 09:43 PM
E. and Charles: Thank you both for supporting your position and keeping it about the issue. To many people jump on here and "spout off" with out really supporting their position. Nothing wrong with agreeing to disagree. Either is TIF goes ahead or not. In three years we can revisit to see how what ever happens is working out. One of us will be able to tell the other "I told you so". Although I doubt either of you would actually do that (I might! Just kidding).
E. Schmidt April 07, 2012 at 12:32 PM
>>>How do you account for the current mayor winning (narrowly)...<<< District One is explained by a two-term mayor running in his home district for an open council seat. Yes it was close. Why so close?...is the question. >>>... and the other two districts winning with 96% and 97%. I was under the impression both of those council members are yes votes as well.<<< You're kidding, right? Uh, no mystery to the other two races. The candidates were unopposed. I guess the question are: Why they didn't get 100%?...and...Given the last three years of chronic political tone-deafness, will there be unopposed races for city council seats in the near future?
John April 07, 2012 at 01:48 PM
Michael, I had no idea my council member was for the tif. I spoke to her a while ago and would have sworn she said she was against it. Read somewhere that if it was held the vote would be 5-2? They haven’t voted, correct? Until they vote how does someone know? If I had known she was for the tif I would have run against her basing everything on the tif. Because she is not voting as her constituents would want her to. John
Michael Rhodes April 07, 2012 at 05:15 PM
John, I could be wrong. The last I heard there was one no vote and that was one of the mayoral canidates. True you won't know until the vote to be sure. Working off what I have read (and yes I know you can not always believe what you read). By the time the vote rolls around there very well could be no yes votes (that sure looks funny. Is that an oxy moron).
Michael Rhodes April 07, 2012 at 05:31 PM
You're kidding me right? You don't understand why those council members didn't get 100% of the vote? Some voters, possibly concerned about their position on the TIF or as you stated their tone-deadfness, opted to write in a canidate instead of endoresing the unopposed canidate. That is why they didn't receive all the votes. I am surprised not one person in each of those districts was so worried about the TIF or tone-deadness of the council for the past three years that they didn't run. Only positive of an unopposed race is for the person running.
E. Schmidt April 07, 2012 at 06:12 PM
>>>I am surprised not one person in each of those districts was so worried about the TIF or tone-deadness of the council for the past three years that they didn't run. Only positive of an unopposed race is for the person running.<<< I am not surprised two seats were unopposed at all. If you are a incumbent city council member running for re-election and have done a relatively good job...and you keep your position on a hot-button issue close to the vest (or make it seem conditional on this or that) the filing deadline for office may come and go before any of your constituents realize they are not being listened to and file against you for the seat. John is an example of someone who thought he understood his council member's position only to find out that he either misunderstood or mis-heard the position...or the person changed their mind...or even lied. >>>... and the other two districts winning with 96% and 97%. I was under the impression both of those council members are yes votes as well.<<< Again your question was too clever by half...I though you really didn't know they ran unopposed. You might have just asked, "Why did they run unopposed?"...which I answered anyway...and expect won't happen next election cycle. A good friend of mine who is a long time municipal election official tells me that the 2-3% of write-ins in unopposed races are split between Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck with a preference for Mickey.

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