Council Meeting Summary for February 14, 2023

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Public Comments

Erica Brooks spoke about gun control bills, Toni Burrow’s recall, and what she referred to as a “White Declaration of Independence,” which she explained as a result of “people felt like the Africans at the time were getting too many jobs.” She spoke about racial profiling by police, and finalized her comments by saying that everyone has to be looked out for.

Annette Jenkins wanted to speak on the record to say that if a resident votes for Nick Kasoff, they are voting for white privilege. “He’s a racist. He writes nasty things about people of color that are in authority.” She went on to state that recall was done to keep Burrow from running. She does not know why he thinks he can win.

Jonathan Tremain Thomas spoke about how he has a non-profit, Civil Righteousness, Inc. and how he moved here in 2014 during the unrest. He has bought a home and purchased the building that had been the Corner Coffeehouse. He went through problems he has had. He has a new contractor and wants help with the permits needed.

Adrian Shropshire spoke first to complain that some on council keep their heads down during public comments. [Note: At the end of the meeting during Miscellaneous, Linda Lipka addressed Shropshire and stated that she takes notes of the comments for later use.] He complained next about the sinkhole at the train trestle. He complained next about campaign signs placed in public easements and made a demand that the city manage have them removed. [Note: Nick Kasoff posted on Facebook that Shropshire was clearly referring to his signs on Airport Rd. These are not on an easement but are on property he owns.]

Alan Mueller spoke on how Mildred Clines had previously protested plans to have Jeff Blume appointed as City Manager by not complying with the public comment time limit and instead effectively filibustering by reading from the DOJ’s report on Ferguson. During the recitation, former Mayor James Knowles and Councilor Burrow left the Council Chambers. They returned and after Knowles failed to gain order, walked out again with Councilor Heather Robinett. Mueller noted that there was no call to recall the “idolized” Knowles, and questioned why Osterberg was seen having made a terminal offense when he left near the end of a recent council meeting. Mueller complained that we have now learned that the environment at council was so toxic that Osterberg would only meet with Council with his own lawyer and stated that the city threw away a motivated and ethical manager.

Gerry Noll spoke to remind the council that the Civilian Review Board needs more members. New members for Ward One and Three are needed.

Special Presentation

Greg Stump spoke on the Actuarial Review and Funding Outlook for the City’s Pension Plan. The funding remains strong and is close to 100% funded for many years. The report can be found here at this link.

City Manager’s Report

John Hampton noted that there was a bad accident last night on W. Florissant, due to bad street lighting in that area. They are working with Ameren to get better lighting there.

There will be a Storm Spotter program February 28th at 6:30 pm at the Community Center. This is conducted by the US National Weather Service. See more at this link.

Parks, Police, and Fire have been working on a Resiliency program to proactively create a local response and supply hub which can be activated for any disaster incident in the future. There will be a meeting for this February 22nd, 7:00 pm at the Community Center.

Hampton also noted that the problem at S. Florissant and Carson near the train trestle is being addressed.

The city is also addressing trash in the Black Oaks/Somerset Park area and code enforcement is working with commercial stores and property owners to get that cleaned up.

Elliott Liebson presented a demolition plan for post-third properties. Eleven properties are listed as targeted, and an additional thirty-seven have been identified for demolition using ARPA funds. The memo outlining the proposal is linked here. An additional document showing photographs of the properties is found here. These lists continue to be updated.

Board Appointments

North County Festival/Square Community Improvement District Board: Interim City Manager John Hampton and Clark Amos, a business owner

Ferguson Future Foundation and the West Florissant Community Improvement District: Interim City Manager John Hampton

Civilian Review Board: Starla Drake, Ward One

Farmer’s Market: Mary Haux

Ferguson Youth Advisory Board: Quincy Smith

Ferguson Special Business District: Rodney Fickas

Proclamations

Black History Month and Iota Phi Lambda Sorority Day

Resolutions

Three resolutions were passed, all related to adding Interim City Manager John Hampton as an authorized signer for city business.

Bills Requiring First Reading

Bill for an ordinance to transfer the deed for 58 S. Barat from St. Louis County to the City, in the first step in adding the property to the Property Rehabilitation Program.

Certification of Election Results

Results of the Recall election of February 7, 2023 were accepted.

New Business

Councilor Naquittia Noah asked if the Jolly Trolley could be used to transport residents to and from the Federal Courthouse for the DOJ status hearing. Hampton said that the Parks Director was looking into this.

Councilor Robinett stated that the council has new business that excludes the mayor in discussion in the matter of an appointment to the Ward 2 vacancy on council. She reviewed the Charter’s guidance on filling a vacancy, which has the remaining council, excepting the mayor, select a new Councilor. The Council has chosen to solicit applications from eligible Ward 2 residents. These applications will be available online on Wednesday February 15th and are due to the City Clerk by noon on February 24th. On February 28th, the next regular Council meeting, a selection will be made.