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Your Local City Officials
The governmental structure of the City of St. Louis is unique in the United States. Since 1876, St. Louis has been an independent city, meaning it is not part of any county. St. Louis operates as both a city and a county. St. Louis is the only city in Missouri which operates its own "county" offices. St. Louis is a home rule city, but it is not a home rule county, thus county functions and offices are subject to state restrictions on county governments. St. Louis County is an entirely separate governmental entity surrounding the City of St. Louis.
Two elected boards are key to the operation of the City of St. Louis government:
- Board of Aldermen
- Board of Estimate and Apportionment
The Board of Aldermen is the city's legislative body, which develops and approves city ordinances and resolutions. The Board of Aldermen consists of 28 aldermen each elected separately from 28 wards to four year terms. Each ward has about 12,000 residents; ward boundaries are set every ten years after the U.S. Census. Every two years, half the aldermen are elected. The next election for even-numbered wards (2nd, 4th, etc.) is April 2007. The next election for odd-numbered wards (1st, 3rd, etc.) is April 2005.
The President of the Board of Aldermen casts the 29th vote on the Board of Aldermen. The President is elected citywide to a four year term. The next general election for President of the Board of Aldermen is April 2007. The President also serves as a member of the Board of Estimate and Apportionment.
The Board of Estimate and Apportionment, also known as E&A, is the city's main fiscal body. E&A controls the city budget and sets the budget ceiling. E&A consists of three citywide elected officials: the mayor, the president of the board of aldermen, and the comptroller. The city Budget Division reports to E&A.
The Comptroller supervises the fiscal affairs of the City. This office is responsible for all accounting, payroll and auditing functions. The Comptroller is elected citywide to a four year term. The next election for Comptroller is April 2005.
The Mayor is the city's chief executive officer. The mayor has power to appoint major department and bureau heads and members of city boards and commissions. The mayor does not have a vote in the Board of Aldermen, but does have power to veto ordinances. The mayor is elected citywide to a four year term. The next mayoral primary is in March 2005; the next general election for mayor is in April 2005. Of the city departments, 22 are under the authority of the Mayor.
DEPARTMENTS REPORTING TO THE MAYOR
Health Department includes
Human Services Department includes
- St. Louis Area Agency on Aging
- Office on the Disabled
- Homeless Services
- Veterans Affairs
- Youth and Family Services
Planning and Urban Design Agency includes
Department of Public Safety includes
- Fire Department
- Bureau of Emergency Medical Services (EMS)
- Division of Corrections
- Building Division
- Neighborhood Stabilization Team
- Excise Division
- City Emergency Management Agency (CEMA)
Public Utilities Department includes
Street Department includes
* = Lambert Airport is considered a City of St. Louis facility, but other entities have representation on the St. Louis Airport Commission established by city ordinance in 1968. Of the 17 airport commissioners, 6 are appointed by the mayor, 5 by the St. Louis County Executive, 1 by the St. Clair County (IL) Executive, and 1 by the St. Charles County (MO) Executive. The balance are ex-officio members.
** = St. Louis Development Corporation (SLDC) is actually a quasi-governmental non-profit corporation affiliated with the City of St. Louis. It is responsible for coordinating business and economic development activity through a variety of commissions established for the city by Missouri statute. These commissions are:
- Industrial Development Authority (IDA)
- Land Clearance for Redevelopment Authority (LCRA)
- St. Louis Local Development Company (LDC)
- St. Louis Land Reutilization Authority (LRA)
- Planned Industrial Expansion Authority (PIE)
- St. Louis Port Authority
- Tax Increment Financing Commission (TIF)
Because the City of St. Louis is independent of any county, the judicial and revenue collection functions usually performed by a county government are part of the City of St. Louis. The eight "county offices" are each separately elected offices with separate staffs. They are each elected to four year terms.
- The Circuit Attorney represents the people in prosecuting criminal acts.
- The Circuit Clerk records the judgements, rules, orders and otherproceedings of the Circuit Court En Banc. The Circuit Clerk also handles and accounts for the funds generated from Circuit Court fees.
- The Collector Of Revenue collects real estate taxes, personal property taxes, payroll and earnings taxes, and water bills and sewer bills.
- The License Collector issues most licenses and receipts for license taxes. The License Collector issues 60 different types of licenses.
- The Public Administrator handles estates for people who left no wills or survivors and serves as guardian for some incapacitated people.
- The Recorder of Deeds records and serves as a repository for legal documents which affect title to real estate, and issues marriage licenses, birth certificates, and death certificates.
- The Sheriff provides security for the Circuit Court, transports prisoners between the Courts and detention facilities, serves court papers and eviction notices, and issues jury summons and gun permits.
The Treasurer is the head of the City's banking systems and parking services operation.
STATE STATUTORY AGENCIES
A few additional agencies have been created and are under state statutory authority, not under the mayor's office.
The Board of Election Commissioners, appointed by the Governor of Missouri, runs elections, registers voters, and processes petitions within the City of St. Louis.
The St. Louis Housing Authority is an independent municipal corporation that owns and contracts for management of the 5,011 public housing units in 43 developments throughout the City of St. Louis. The Housing Authority is funded by the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), and is governed by a seven member board of commissioners. Five commissioners are appointed by the Mayor with Board of Aldermen approval, and two are elected by tenants.
Although Tower Grove Park is owned by the City of St. Louis, it is managed separately from the 105 parks maintained by the Parks Division. Tower Grove Park is governed by a special Board of Commissioners appointed by the Missouri Supreme Court.
The Metropolitan St. Louis Police Department is governed by a five-member Board of Police Commissioners appointed by the Governor of Missouri. The mayor and the chief of police also serve ex officio on the Police Board.
INDEPENDENT SPECIAL DISTRICTS
The St. Louis Public Schools (SLPS) provide preschool through grade twelve public education services within the boundaries of the City of St. Louis. However, SLPS is, like any other school district in Missouri, an entity independent of any municipal government. The St. Louis Board of Education consists of seven members, each elected citywide to six year terms, unpaid. The mayor does have the ability to appoint board members when vacancies occur before the next election. SLPS is primarily funded through its property tax levy, as well as Federal, state and desegregation sales tax funds.
The St. Louis Public Library (SLPL) operates 16 libraries throughout the City of St. Louis. It is not part of the city government, but its nine-member Board of Directors is appointed by the Mayor for staggered three-year terms. SLPL is funded through a special property tax levy.
The City of St. Louis Mental Health Board is a special taxing district that finances mental health and substance abuse treatment services in the City of St. Louis. It is not part of the city government, but is managed by an eleven-member board of commissioners appointed by the Mayor.
The St. Louis Office for MR&/DD Resources is a public agency whose responsibility is to distribute City tax dollars for services for persons who have mental retardation, autism, epilepsy, cerebral palsy, and/or learning disability if the person needs the same level of support as a person who has mental retardation. The office is funded through a special property tax allocation, listed on tax bills as "Sheltered Workshop."
REGIONAL SPECIAL DISTRICTS
The Zoo-Museum District (ZMD) is a City of St. Louis/St. Louis County regional district established in 1971 that provides funding for:
- St. Louis Zoological Park
- St. Louis Art Museum
- Missouri Botanical Garden
- St. Louis Science Center
- Missouri History Museum
Although the Zoo, Art Museum and Science Center (formerly the McDonnell Planetarium) were once City of St. Louis-operated, today they are each independent entities, financed by property taxes levied through the ZMD. Thanks to these property tax levies, all these institutions except the Missouri Botanical Garden are FREE to all visitors. (The Missouri Botanical Garden is free to St. Louis and St. Louis County residents until noon every Wednesday and Saturday).
The Regional Arts Commission (RAC) provides funding for arts and cultural programs, through a hotel/motel tax levied in the City of St. Louis and St. Louis County. The fifteen Commissioners are appointed jointly by the Mayor and County Executive and serve four-year terms
The Convention & Visitors Commission (CVC) is the sales and marketing organization responsible for selling St. Louis City and St. Louis County as a convention and meeting site and as a leisure travel destination. It also operates the America's Center convention complex. It is also funded by the hotel/motel tax. The CVC's 11-member Board of Commissioners is headed by a chairman appointed by the Governor of Missouri. Five Board members are appointed by the Mayor of the City of St. Louis and five are appointed by the St. Louis County Executive.
The St. Louis-St. Louis County Junior College District (JCD) oversees the St. Louis Community College, a system of 30,000+ students with three campuses and four extension centers, including the Forest Park campus, Harrison Northside Education Center, and Cosand Downtown Education Center in the City of St. Louis. The community college system provides instruction leading to the associate of arts and associate of science degrees. The JCD Board of Trustees consists of six members from St. Louis and St. Louis County, representing the four subdistricts of the JCD and elected periodically by district voters for staggered six-year terms.
The Bi-State Development Agency, currently doing business as Metro but still legally named Bi-State, operates the bus and light-rail (MetroLink) system in St. Louis and the surrounding counties. The public bus system in St. Louis is not a city operation. Metro is also responsible for the Call-A-Ride paratransit service, primarily serving the disabled, as well as the Gateway Arch Tram System, the Gateway Arch Parking Garage, the Gateway Arch Riverboats, and Downtown-Parks Airport in Cahokia, IL. Bi-State is headed by a 10 member Board of Commissioners (5 from Missouri, 5 from Illinois) appointed by the Mayor, St. Louis County Executive, and St. Clair and Madison Counties in Illinois. By tradition, the Mayor appoints 2 of the Missouri commissioners, and rotates with the county executive for a 3rd slot.
The Metropolitan St. Louis Sewer District (MSD) manages the surface drainage and sewage treatment system in the City of St. Louis and in St. Louis County east of Missouri Highway 109. Both primary and secondary treatment facilities are provided at the Bissell Point Plant on East Grand Avenue at the Mississippi River in North St. Louis and at the Lemay Plant on South Broadway near River des Peres, just south of the City limits. MSD is governed by a six member Board of Trustees. Three members are appointed by the Mayor and three members are appointed by the St. Louis County Executive.
The East-West Gateway Coordinating Council (EWGCC) is the metropolitan planning organization and council of governments for the St. Louis region. The region's major elected officials sit on the board of East-West Gateway, deciding regional priorities for major transportation projects. Both the mayor and the president of the board of aldermen sit on the East-West Gateway board, as well as one City of St Louis resident appointed by the mayor.