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Thursday, January 28, 2010

Mayor's Budget Suggestions Include Planning Cut

On January 18, Mayor Francis Slay released a list of budget changes he is suggesting to the St. Louis Board of Aldermen to address this year's shortfall. Neither any alderman or Comptroller Darlene Green released any ideas ahead of the mayor, and none has released any since. Hopefully, we won't just see a round of orders from the mayor's menu -- take this, leave that. After all, we are not discussing mere numbers but actual functions of government. The budget debate is as much about public service priorities as it is about money.

Readers of this blog will be most interested in the suggestion that the city eliminate the $130,000 annual payment from general revenue to the city's Planning and Urban Design Agency. According to the mayor's proposal, eliminating that subsidy will remove two full-time positions from the agency. One of those might be the Preservation Planner position in the Cultural Resources Office created by the Board of Aldermen in 2007. The Planning and Urban Design Agency has not even had a permanent director since Rollin Stanley's departure in December 2007.

If we actually wanted a strong, pro-active planning agency, we would need more than the current staff level. Cutting two positions to save money is a step in the wrong direction, and the savings realized minuscule. Scratch that one off the list.


Kara said...

Cutting half the alderman would save the city some money.

GMichaud said...

The city is struggling to handle urban planning, cuts make no sense.
Paul McKee and the northside project should demonstrate fully how little leadership is being shown by the city in the arena of city planning.
That being said, the city must only have hacks serving as planners, otherwise how could the crap that passes for development even occur in the city?
It is not a good idea to be letting go of several planners, but a few extra planners are not going to solve underlying problems of process and planning fundamentals.

samizdat said...

So surprising, considering the deep level of committment Mr. Slay has to historic preservation and those who advocate for it. OK, I really had some difficulty typing that with a straight face.

Anonymous said...

I thought Hizzoner already outsourced planning to McKee.

Doug Duckworth said...

Hey! Barbara Geisman is our advocate-planner!

Anonymous said...

Who needs urban planning when we gotch ballpark village, prosperous gambling casinos, a chicken or two in every politicians pot and everything coming up roses?