City Council Meeting Summary for 10/25/22

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Note: Although the council meeting was livestreamed to the I Care About Ferguson group on Facebook the post now has a glitch with the video. The City’s recording can be found here.

A quorum of council was present with Naquittia Noah, Michael Palmer, Toni Burrow, Heather Robinett, Phedra Nelson, and Ella Jones present. Linda Lipka was an excused absence.

Public Comments

Alan Mueller spoke, saying that the last Council meeting ended with “more foolishness” from Toni Burrow by suggesting that the consent decree monitor be eliminated, and that Judge Perry would not give this up. Mueller also said that several members of the Civilian Review Board (CRB) have told him that Burrow obstructs the work of the group.

Adrian Shropshire spoke about the school shooting in St. Louis city. He complained about streetlights being out for months. He also thinks the city is behind on the 2040 plan. He spoke about the senior housing and that the developer was asked to provide financial information and stated that the developer “is a millionaire, and that was outrageous, and I was embarrassed.”

Erica Brooks read a letter by Willie Lynch to the people of Virginia purported to have been written in 1712 about the making of a slave and spoke about it until her time was up.

Michael Pierce asked if the city of Ferguson would provide anti-theft devices for resident that own Kia and Hyundai vehicles vulnerable to theft, as other communities have done so.

City Manager’s Report

Chief of Police Frank McCall spoke about the school shooting in St. Louis city and gave information on joint training FPD has done both with the Fire Department and other police departments to prepare for the possible event of an active shooter. He also gave statistics and noted that traffic enforcement stops have increased compared to the same time last year. McCall spoke of hiring efforts for officers, dispatchers, and clerks.

John Hampton, Chief of the Fire Department, provided his report. In the last two weeks over 250 calls were completed. That included several structure fires, three of which were in the city, and over thirty motor vehicle accidents. They are working with FEMA and the insurance company to get equipment back in service and will be buying a new truck due to flood damage. FFD teamed up with Parks and Rec for pumpkin carving and a movie at the firehouse. He also reminded everyone that Daylight Savings Time is coming up on November 6th and to remember to change batteries in your smoke detectors.

Special Presentation

Durrell Smith, a Lecturer with the Brown School of Social Work at Washington University in St. Louis gave a presentation of a proposal they have made to the city council for a Community Liaison Social Worker. They propose to co-fund having students work in what they would consider a practicum that would have students work in city hall and work under the City Manager and the Director of Economic Development or Community Development. They hope to get 3-4 students every semester. Smith stated that they made a request for joint funding which he assumes will be proposed in the next meeting. This would have a selection committee run out of the city with a start date of January.

[Note: No funding amount was publicly disclosed, nor were there terms of the proposed MOU made public. This is not the first proposal for such a joint venture. Previously Brown School faculty member Jack Kirkland approached city staff directly and asked to have it added to the budget the large amount proposed as salary for a social worker. Kirkland was also notably appointed to the Mayor’s Task Force who previously supplied the mayor with practicum students at no cost to the city and was present on the Zoom for this city council meeting.]

Appointments

Cassandra Butler was appointed to the Personnel Board. [Note: this fills the vacancy formerly held by Von Walker, a candidate for council in April 2022 who since moved from the city.]

Proclamation

Mayor Jones read a proclamation in which she declared November 5, 2022, Jennifer Lewis Day in honor of the actor born and raised in Kinloch, who attended Kinloch High School and Webster University.

New Business

LMAC Holdings, LLC has made a request for an extension for one year. The Council had passed an ordinance on March 22, 2022, authorizing a Redevelopment Agreement (RDA) with LMAC to build Senior Housing at 10607 New Halls Ferry. Councilor Palmer asked for clarification of the request being to extend negotiations or to extend the RDA, which has not actually been entered yet. City Attorney Apollo Carey stated that he believed the city has made its last final and best offer. He does not see the need for further contract negotiations, but this is an extension for the start of the agreement to be pushed from 2022 to 2023. Carey explained that the negotiations had hung up over the issue of clearing the title. The agreement has the developer clear the title but allows for them to back out if something is found that is a problem for them in the title. The change in starting time will impact the city budget by shifting everything forward, but LMAC did agree to pay to clear the title. The current incentive packet is a permit fee waiver, real property tax waiver for the city’s portion, and a $100,000 advance. There is a provision allowing the city to back out of providing the incentives and void the agreement if there is no progress towards completing the development. The extension was approved.

[You can review the presentation LMAC Holdings made of their proposal Feb. 8, 2022 here.]

After Miscellaneous the meeting adjourned.