Mayor's Town Hall Meeting
The following are questions submitted for the Mayor's Town Hall Meeting and responses from City Representatives.
Q1 - What is the working relationship between the Mayor and the Police Chief when he is required to report to the City Manager? How does this impact activities related to the consent decree?
**Staff are responsive to inquires and input from the Mayor and Council Members. The City Charter (Sec. 3.4.3) stipulates that the Mayor and Council are not to take part in the operation or management of the City.
Q2 - What is the status of the Ferguson Rebranding Study? If it has been abandoned, how much money did the city spend on the study? If the city adopts a new logo and slogan, how much money has the city allocated for new signage, new stationary, redoing the city website, repainting city vehicles, etc.?
**The City Council entered into agreement for a Rebranding Study at the cost of $46,480. This Study was unfortunately paused due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Although, recently the Council has agreed to conduct a final review of the study results to prepare for implementation. It is likely that study results would prompt updates to advertising mechanisms, however, as we are unable to determine what updates are required until the study results are final, and due to the COVID-19 pandemic impact, we have been unable to dedicate specific funding. This will be reconsidered in upcoming budget cycles.
Q3 - 1) From personal experience, and listening to a few of my neighbors, Public Works is unresponsive. How do citizens reach Public Works with concerns and know that they are being heard? Communication from City Hall seems to be lacking all around. Please address what is being done to improve this situation. 2) Citizens recently mowed the grass at Jeske Park because it was too long and unsightly. This is not a sustainable way to maintain city parks. What is being done to address this lack of maintenance? And, on a related note, why are we contemplating a new park when we aren't maintaining the ones we have? Please address what is being done to insure routine maintenance is being done.
**Public Works Services has been significantly impacted by COVID-19 resulting in chronic understaffing. In Addition, this department has experienced 100% turnover in the last 20 months. With the transfer of one of our most capable and experienced employees to Office Manager of this group, we believe we are on the right road to creating a more responsive department. Unfortunately, as a budget cutting act, we no longer use "See-Click-Fix." To contact PW Services, please call the main number, 314-521-7721, and ask for Public Works Services. On average, there are only two clerks on duty at any given time. If you go to voice mail, please leave a message. You will receive a call back within 24 hours. You may also contact them via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
**Due to current budget restraints Public Works was limited to the number of PT/ Seasonal staff that were hired for a typical summer season. However, over the past 3 weeks new management has developed a comprehensive maintenance plan to address mowing needs city wide. Public Works plans to modify this plan moving forward as needs and staffing changes. It is the hope of Public Works and the City to hire the needed PT/ seasonal help this spring and work with the existing maintenance plan to ensure all parks and city maintained areas are properly managed. In regards to the "new park" the property that is in question is already owned by the City. It is currently mowed and maintained in our regular schedule and therefor will not add any additional work to the existing maintenance plan.
Q4 - How many pending lawsuits are there against Ferguson? What is the cost of the lawsuits and is the insurance company settling the cases?
**Upon the advice of counsel, the City does not discuss matters regarding ongoing litigation.
Q5 - What are the duties of the Mayor Pro-Tem? What does the Charter State about the Mayor Pro-Tem?
**Article II, Section 3.7 of the City Charter states that the Mayor Pro Tempore acts in the absence of the Mayor. There are no other specifications outlined.
Q6 - The economic sales tax was passed in 2016 why is it that the Board has not been established?
**Ordinance #2016-3629 adopted November 8, 2016 established the EDST Commission. However, the positions outlined have not been filled.
Q7 - What's going on with Prop-P taxes that the police officers were not getting raises? How many police officers does Ferguson have now?
**Annually, the City receives around $1 million in Prop P funds whose purpose is to partially fund Public Safety within the City. Annually the City budgets about $7 million for public safety (Police and Fire). Regarding raises for Police - the police union was in the process of negotiating a collective bargaining agreement. That agreement was ratified in July of 2019. Wage rate increases were given to police once that agreement was signed. Those raises were retroactive to the first of the fiscal year.
The authorized strength of the Police Department is 45 sworn officers. Currently, there are about 35 sworn officers on the payroll.
Q8 - What is the status of the Build Grant?
**The Build Grant was not awarded for the West Florissant Streetscape project.
Q9 - What are the FNIP (Ferguson Neighborhood Improvement Program) Bi-Laws? How can citizens get a copy of Bi-laws? What is the balance of funds in FNIP Treasure Account? What is the main purpose of FNIP and how can citizens qualify for funds?
**The Ferguson Neighborhood Improvement Program By-Laws serve as the governing rules for the Board as it operates as a non-profit organization, separate from the City. Citizens can obtain a copy of the FNIP By-Laws by contacting the Community Development Coordinator, Bailey Mitchell by email at email@example.com or by phone at 314-521-7721 ex. 2149.
FNIP has multiple investment accounts and their finances are reviewed quarterly during the regularly scheduled Board meetings. FNIP does not receive any tax dollars from the city or any other governmental entity and they operate solely on the interest they make from investment accounts. The public can access this information on the City website (fergusoncity.com) via the Agenda Center when the quarterly financial statements are to be reviewed at the Board meetings; or Citizens can always contact the Community Development Coordinator for this information.
The purpose of the FNIP is to improve the quality of life and foster a spirit of community among the residents of Ferguson. FNIP fulfills its mission by offering programs and services to increase the pride, distinction and livability of its neighborhoods, and to improve the appearance and value of individual homes. To learn about ways you can qualify for funds, view the FNIP webpage on the City website or contact the Community Development Coordinator.