Odd repair to busted St. Louis vehicle taillight highlights need for more funds

ST. LOUIS - The City of St. Louis has received criticism for a photo posted on Reddit showing a St. Louis City work truck with what appears to be a Folgers container and a QuikTrip cup taped to fix a broken taillight.

St. Louis City officials said they can explain the DIY fix.

“I honestly believe it was about keeping the truck on the street,” said Todd Waelterman, City Director of Operations. “The individual’s fear was, ‘Hey, if I turn it in and it’s a $200 lens and they find out I need new front tires, they may not give me my truck back because it needs $1,500 of repair and the truck will only be worth $1,000,’ that’s the fear they live with driving this older equipment around when you turn into the shop.”

Waelterman said it is just one example of what the city is up against with an aging fleet of trucks that all need expensive repairs or need to be replaced entirely. He said about a third of their trucks are 18 years old.

The city is proposing a $50 million bond issue called Prop P. It is not a tax hike. On August 7, 2018, City of St. Louis voters will decide whether to approve the bond issue that would help the city replace old vehicles, repair or renovate aging facilities, and upgrade outdated technology.

Prop P would cover the cost of replacing beaten up fire trucks, installing permanent air conditioning in the Medium Security Institution (known commonly as The Workhouse), and maintain city bridges, which would free up resources to repair and replace the aging fleet for everyday vehicles needed to maintain the city.

“If we get that $50 million maybe we can simmer some of this creative stuff down a little bit,” Waelterman said.