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Local Leaders Gather to Discuss Economics, Politics and Safety

May 31, 2018 - 8:24 am

ST. LOUIS (KMOX) - Is the on-going inner turmoil in the St. Louis County Council actually a good thing?

It can be, according to County Council chairman Steve Stenger, who was the subject of much criticism from council members during a meeting Tuesday which he did not attend, and several of his vetoes were overridden.

He suggests things are getting done despite the tension.

“We were able to cut wasteful spending; we’ve been able to do a great deal. We put together a prescription drug monitoring program that that is now state-wide, all of these things have been done with this contentious council, so I think that in many ways that contentious relationship has actually helped us,” he says.

Stenger also said he would hold the line on the expenditure of Prop P funding, another bone of contention with the council.

Stenger made his comments during a summit of the East West Council of Governments he convened at Forest Park, where regional cooperation and economic development were major topics of conversation.


Also during the summit, St. Charles County executive Steve Ehlmann said the St. Louis area's loss in the Amazon headquarters sweepstakes should be seen as a major learning experience when it comes to regional cooperation.

“Personally I felt excluded. Not only St. Charles County but a lot of the other collar counties. I raised that as an issue and we kind of started over and we came up with a process where everybody at least had an opportunity to compete,” he says.

He hopes that lessons were learned through Amazon.

“So the next time somebody asks us, ‘What does the region want to do? What is the regions proposal?’ We’ll kind of have a blueprint,” he says.


Metrolink safety was also high on the agenda. 

“We’ve got problems with ridership decreasing. Although that is a trend all over the country, we really need to stop that decline and figure out a way to make people feel  comfortable on the train,” St. Clair County board chair Mark Kern.

St. Louis mayor Lyda Krewson pointed out that's currently being addressed...

“There’s a piece of legislation going through the board of aldermen right now, that should be passed on Friday hopefully, which will allow St. Clair county folks to ride into the city,” she says.                        

The measure would give police from the Illinois side of the river the power to make arrests on the Missouri side and hold suspects until officers from St. Louis city or county arrive to take them into custody