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University City City Council Kills Loop Loitering Bill

Council kills Bill 9112; Also discussed at special session: budget adjustments, council rules.

In a unanimous vote, the City Council of University City removed Bill 9112 from further consideration at a special session on Monday night.

The bill, introduced originally by Ward 2 councilmember L. Michael Glickert was given first reading at the April 26 City Council meeting. Ward 3 councilmember Arthur Sharpe Jr. put a motion at Monday’s meeting to remove the bill from further consideration.

Joe Edwards of and other members of the community were present at the special session.

A curfew, as well as additional police presence in the Loop were primary reasons for discontinuing discussion of Bill 9112. The bill, if passed would have fined individuals $1,000 if found guilty of loitering, or obstructing the sidewalks in the Loop business district.

The controversial measure got widespread media attention, in the weeks after its first reading at council.

After the unanimous vote to “kill” Bill 9112, members of the community erupted in applause.

The special budget session of City Council was also called because the city charter requires the budget to be finalized by June 27 of each year. Councilmembers Byron Price and Terry Crow led the charge against new budgetary spending while several city departments were forced to make cuts, which formed the bulk of the conversation.

In particular, Price questioned the budgeting of $30,000 for a council microphone system replacement, rather than spend additional money on the Youth Employment Program, a budgeted item of $50,000.  Another source of contention was a budget of $14,000 for City Council Professional Development and $100,000 for Public Communications and Marketing.

Crow expressed concern about spending $100,000 on public relations, while Mayor Shelley Welsch supported the amount, stating that had not marketed itself to it’s detriment.

The votes on the proposed changes to the budget will be looked at in more detail at the June 13 City Council meeting.

The last order of business at the special session was discussion of council rules and procedures.  Price expressed concern that the original wording of Section 8 of the amended rules would abridge his rights, and called into question rules 29 and 30. He felt that he was entitled to support whomever he chooses politically.

That particular section deals with the council being nonpartisan. Rule 29 states the council and mayoral elections are nonpartisan and that endorsements, financial or organizational support those elections. The second sentence was removed after council discussion. Councilmember Stephen Kraft of Ward 1 noted that charter was written in such a way that it requires a nonpartisan council.

The council will have its regular session in council chambers on June 13. 

Nova L Felton June 07, 2011 at 05:18 PM
In my opinion, University City does need a PR professional to communicate to the citizens, but not to the tune of $100,000. U City needs to survey the citizens by mail to determine the best mode of communication to ALL citizens. Most citizens do not have the internet, especially the elderly. Not marketing U City is not "to its detriment." The lack of transparentcy in governing the city is the real detriment to the City.
George Lenard June 08, 2011 at 03:59 PM
Based on what I hear from and read about college students, I think public relations, communications, and marketing are very popular majors. So there should be many people available at a very reasonable pay level, well below $100,000 annually. While outsourcing of some one-time high-level consulting on PR/marketing makes some sense, it would seem we would get more bang for the buck from a direct hire of a promising and ambitious lower-level employee, perhaps just part-time, to implement any PR and marketing recommendations. That could be done for $50,000 or less in the current job market, I suspect. This is contrary to Mr. Walker's preference for permanent outsourcing, expressed at the meeting. If PR/marketing is anything like the legal and temporary help businesses, with which I am well acquainted, there can be a very significant markup on labor. If we are not careful, a PR/marketing agency will be a middleman taking a big cut for the work done by a person who could have been hired directly for much less.
Frank Ollendorff June 08, 2011 at 11:21 PM
Right on, Nova. Transparency = free publicity!

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