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Ballwin looks at key issues

The Ballwin Board of Aldermen held a special meeting Aug. 6 to examine key issues the city is facing. And while final decisions weren’t reached on everything, the stage was set for action on several.

First among them was what to do with the former city headquarters at the Manchester Road-Seven Trails Drive intersection, a structure that became redundant when local government offices were moved to the new city hall in Vlasis Park earlier this year.

Ballwin City Administrator Bob Kuntz, center, emphasizes a point during a special aldermanic meeting on Aug. 6

Due to the size and topography of the parcel on which the building sits, City Administrator Bob Kuntz noted the site is not suitable for office use and has limited retail potential but could be a multifamily residential location, especially if an adjoining business property were added to it. 

The city’s recently completed master plan also suggested the land be considered for another civic use. An amphitheater is one possibility.

As first steps, the aldermen opted to get an appraisal of the site’s value and solicit redevelopment proposals.

In its review of the city’s financial position, including how best to pay for infrastructure needs such as an updated police department building and public works facilities, aldermen discussed several options.

Income from the public safety sales tax increase approved by county voters in 2016 isn’t enough to pay for an upgraded police building, along with other uses in the department. Therefore, a special use tax for this and other capital needs was discussed. The aldermen ultimately endorsed a short-term approach of reinstituting a reserve fund into which a percentage of any budget surpluses would be set for designated purposes.

The aldermen authorized drafting a resolution for the fund, with specific details to be determined when the proposal is ready for debate.

Annexation possibilities also came under review, with aldermen authorizing the draft of a proposal to the county boundary commission. The measure will designate a parcel that includes some two dozen homes on the east side of Reinke Road just north of the new roundabout. The land is almost surrounded by property already within Ballwin city boundaries.

Submitting a boundary commission proposal is only the first step in the annexation effort, which calls for approval by property owners.

City department heads also listed their top spending priorities in 2020, an issue that will receive more attention in the upcoming budget-setting process.

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