ST. LOUIS, Mo.—As the City of St. Louis enters into a new budget year, an important aspect the city's continued growth and vitality is its downtown —where businesses, tourists, sports fans and residents all converge. Sustaining a bustling and safe downtown is paramount. Therefore, guaranteeing public safety commands our immediate attention.
Annual city budgets have their limitations and constraints. The city must find innovative ways to fund its critical public safety needs. We have an urgent need to do more crime prevention and intervention. Recent high profile acts of violence give a perception that violent crimes are on the increase in downtown St. Louis. As we know, perception is often reality;therefore, we need a regional solution and we must act now.
Our current budget should reflect our intentions to do all that we can to combat crime, but it falls short because of the lack of available revenues to fund this effort more effectively.We cannot do it alone. We must find partners throughout the region to support and fund public safety that is critical for deterring crime in the city.
I'm calling on all city leaders to act now and contribute more of the revenues generated from their operations to help crime prevention efforts in the city. In addition to city leaders, we need the support of stakeholders from throughout the region as partners, both public and private, to fight violent crimes.
The timing couldn't be better for making the case for a Crime Prevention Fund. The city budget allocations are already dedicated to infrastructure, police, fire and community-building. Because downtown St. Louis is a regional asset, the new fund will have its own dedicated source of revenue that flows from throughout the region. Let's do it!
Crime Prevention Fund
Several neighborhoods have been identified as high crime areas; however, due to budgetary constraints, the St. Louis City lacks the resources to tackle the problem.
The creation of a Crime Prevention Fund could be an innovative way to increase annual revenues dedicated to combat crime throughout our city.
Downtown residential population has grown in the last several years by more than 30%. In addition, downtown continues to be the job center for the city as well as the region. Police overtime and other public safety services are needed throughout the entire city;however, they are often channeled to the downtown area more frequently.
The establishment of a crime prevention fund for downtown would allow revenues to be directed and made available to combat crime in all neighborhoods of the city.
Regional civic partners and stakeholders can aid the city by contributing additional revenues dedicated to combat violent crime in the city.
Revenue Enhancement Committee
The purpose of the Revenue Enhancement Committee for the city of St. Louis is to make recommendations, research, and develop new revenue streams as well as increase and protect current revenue streams.
Members of the Committee shall be:
- Board of Estimate and Apportionment representatives (3)
- Department of Finance (5)
- St. Louis Citizens (3)
- Corporate Community (2)
Office of the Comptroller