CLAYTON, MO -On Tuesday, St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger signed Bill 227, the Prop P Accountability Act, to make sure the money generated from Proposition P is designated to only be used for police and public safety.
It shuts down the ability for municipalities to use the funds for other purposes.
In 2016, voters approved the money from Proposition P to help generate $80 million to be shared between St. Louis County and its municipalities.
The new bill will also create a new online transparency portal that will be open to the public with real time information on spending.
Stenger is hoping the County Council will vote and pass pay raises for police as soon as possible.
Tuesday night, council moved forward with perfecting the measure meant to give county police officers a pay raise.
About 25 people took to the podium during public comment. A majority included backers of the bill while a few opposed the measure.
“To the council members who wanted to make sure that my pension will still be there when I retire I appreciate the concern,” said one police officer, “but I would ask that you listen to the experts to explain why my pension will be fine under this new plan. I ask that you stop worrying about my financial situation in 20 years and worry about my financial situation right now.”
One of the speakers was slain officer Blake Snyder’s wife Elizabeth Snyder giving a teary testimony.
“I’m sorry but they put their lives on the line,” Snyder said, “standing here in this room tonight in all their vests they are taking a risk each time that they put that uniform on and that’s something that other professions do not do.”
St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger and the county police union have proposed a plan that would allocate about $19 million for county police personnel.
St. Louis County Council Chairman Sam Page said he supports police raises, but there isn’t a clear understanding of the potential impact the raises will have on pensions for county employees and past retirees.
Page’s bill calls for 15 percent of Proposition P money to be set aside for pension while Stenger’s plan set aside 20 percent.”
Some municipalities claim their officers are already paid well and they are not looking to hire additional officers so they want to spend the money on things like road improvements and snow removal which they say will contribute to public safety.
The Prop P Accountability Act restricts funds only to law enforcement functions.