Q1 NEWSLETTER 2021 - CURRENT ISSUE

JANUARY - MARCH 2021

Welcome to Spring! Flowers are starting to bloom, trees are budding, and the hum of lawn mowers has already started. Winter is over! So, what's been happening at the city of Crestwood - I'll cover the highlights. Here we go.

As a reminder, I will continue to add more posts to the website, as events occur and information is available. So be sure to visit shipleyward3.org, or better yet, subscribe to receive weekly/ monthly updates via e-mail.

Click on the topics below to view each article.

Mall Update – In February the TIF Commission held their first meeting (see my previous post about this for more info). The second meeting was scheduled for March but is rescheduled for April 22. Representatives from Dierbergs stated that the challenging conditions of the site required additional core drill / pit test sampling evaluation and requested the additional time to finalize the cost estimates for development. Stay tuned.

Quarry Construction – If you have walked by the quarry recently, you have surely noticed the construction work occurring there. Workers have been preparing the site, pouring concrete pads and footers to install the “Phase 1” boardwalk, fishing pier, and other site improvements. This work should be completed later this spring. Phase-2 of this project will include a new pavilion by the quarry as well as a water treatment device that will allow the MO Department of Conservation to stock the quarry for fishing (trout I’m told). Phase 2 construction won’t begin until late 2021 or 2022. Both projects are partially funded by grants.

Whitecliff Gym Floor – Parks workers recently discovered that part of the gym floor was showing evidence of water damage. It took a while to find the source, but that was eventually located, repaired, and then investigation of the floor could begin. Unfortunately, the damage was extensive and the entire floor will be replaced. When work began, asbestos was found under the floor, so proper abatement is also needed. Insurance will cover all of expenses over the city's $50K deductable.

City Hall ADA Entrance - Earlier this year, the city awarded a contract to remove and replace the concrete steps in front of the main entrance of the Government Center. When replaced, a new ADA compliant ramp will be installed. Until now, anyone who was unable to use the stairs to enter the building was forced to go around to the back of the building to enter. With this improvement, everyone will be able to enter through the main entrance. Work is expected to take several months to complete. See my previous post about this for more details.

New Police Chief – Jonathan Williams joined Crestwood in January as Chief of Police, replacing Chief Ron Compton who retired in Fall 2020. Chief Williams came with 20 years of experience, most recently as Lieutenant at Webster Groves. On the Crestwood Police Facebook page, Chief Williams stated

Like many who grew up in or near Crestwood, I spent many Friday and Saturday nights cruising Crestwood Mall. Never did I think I would have the opportunity to serve as Chief of Police for the City of Crestwood, but after 20 years in law enforcement that opportunity has come.

I am both humbled and honored to serve such a wonderful community and those who protect you every day. As I have told all of the officers, my two priorities will always be the officers and our community. Every decision I make will be with you in mind.

I can’t wait to get out and meet the people that make the City of Crestwood a community. When we as a nation defeat COVID-19, my first priority will be making that happen. Until then, I will come up with some creative ways to meet the people of our community. Stay healthy and stay safe.

Chief Williams has already proven to be an effective leader of the department and he quickly earned the respect of officers and city staff. He has implemented measures that reduce the time officers spent filling out redundant reports, resulting in more time available for them to patrol.

Body Cameras – In March the Board of Alderman approved Chief Williams recommendation to purchase officer-worn body cameras as well as in-car dash cameras. It is expected that they will be in place and active by summer. There were multiple companies that submitted bids for this – the one selected (Digital Ally) was about half the cost of others and provides the department with exactly what they need. A detailed memo about the cameras and the bidding process is on the city’s website (HERE).

Accreditation – The department finalized a multi-year process of achieving accreditation by the Missouri Police Chief’s Association. In early March, the city was notified that the Crestwood Police Department has met all of the requirements for this accreditation. Formal recognition of this achievement will be made to the Board of Alderman in April.

Speed Measurement – The department will soon have a new tool to help measure traffic speed 24 hours a day. A small battery-operated box mounted to a street sign or pole will be deployed to “trouble areas” around the city to gather information. The device will collect detailed car-by-car speed data that will allow the city to precisely identify speeding issues and efficiently deploy officers to patrol at the times when the issue exists. This data can also help public works to determine when best to work on streets, etc. It should be noted that the device is not a camera, does not issue tickets, and is not used for actual enforcement. It’s just a tool to allow the city to work more effectively.

Officers on the Street – the bottom line about these changes is that our Police Department is working to be more efficient and effective to serve Crestwood. This will help the city to continue to achieve its goal of being onsite within 3 minutes of a 911 call.

You can view a sample ballot HERE. This is a municipal election (no state or federal elections), so there are only local decisions. I list how I will be voting for each of these just to give you my opinion. This only reflects my personal decision, not any endorsed or official position by the city nor any board/committee. You should vote as you think best.

CITY OF CRESTWOOD – ALDERPERSON – WARD 3

That’s me – I am running unopposed for my first full 3-year term (I’m currently finishing a partial 2-year term that former alderman Mabie vacated to become Mayor).

Next year our other Ward 3 Alderman will be on the ballot, and the Mayor will be on the ballot the year after that.

CITY OF CRESTWOOD – PROPOSITION 1

Shall the City of Crestwood be authorized to impose a semi-annual registration fee of $200 to be paid by the owner of any residential structure in the City which has been vacant for six months or more and is in violation of the City’s housing codes?
[ ] YES [ ] NO

I will be voting YES for this proposition.

The Board of Alderman unanimously approved an ordinance placing this proposition on the April ballot. As that ordinance indicated […] it is important to register and monitor vacant structures that have been vacant for more than six months and subject to housing code violations in order to take steps to mitigate the harmful effects of such vacant properties on the neighborhood.

In addition to the $200 fee, the city will have additional tools to help bring these vacant properties with code violations into compliance.

LINDBERGH SCHOOLS – DIRECTOR

The top 2 vote getters will win. Mike Shamia and Megan Vedder are basically running unopposed.

METROPOLITAN SEWER DISTRICT – PROPOSITION Y

Here’s the scoop…. Regardless how we vote on this, MSD will be moving forward with a bunch of expensive infrastructure upgrades and the costs will be reflected in rate increases. We are merely voting on how those will be funded and how fast our rates will rise.

If this proposition passes, then MSD will finance the project via a $500M bond, spreading construction costs over many years. If the proposition fails, then the project will be paid for as they go.

MSD's marketing material shows that in the next 3 years, a YES vote results in lower rates. The thing to remember is that after 15 years, the opposite is true and the “No vote option” results in a lower rate going forward (see graph below).

This is a tough choice and although I normally go for long term savings, I created a spreadsheet based upon the graph provided from MSD and added up the rates for both options for 30 years. It’s not until 2050 that the “non-Bond” option proves to be a cheaper option (cumulative cost) and the monthly rate is only $10 cheaper at that point.

I will be voting YES on this one.

MSD has provided more info online HERE

METROPOLITAN SEWER DISTRICT – PROPOSITIONS 1, 2, 3, 4, AND 5

In addition to Proposition Y, MSD has also placed 5 additional propositions that relate to how their advisory board operates and modernizes some old, outdated language.

I will be voting NO on these 5 propositions.

My decision is mostly based upon points raised by an stltoday.com article. While these propositions include items that sound reasonable, they also include items that eliminate oversight that the board provides and eliminates some voting requirements they must follow.

Here’s that article from stltoday.com

If you missed any of the previous newsletters, you can find a link to all of them here.