The SouthSider

Aldermen approve 3 percent raises for city employees

CITY HALL – A bill fattening the amount of raises for civil service employees of the city of St. Louis has received the final approval of the Board of Aldermen.

 The board voted 26-1 on Friday to approve a bill granting $1,000 bonuses to civil service workers this fiscal year and 3 percent raises in the 2020-2021 and 2021-22 fiscal years. In past years, the board has given 1.5 percent raises. 

City Budget Director Paul Payne said recently that the extra money came from a strong fourth quarter in the 2018-2019 fiscal year and a better-than-expected first half of the current year.

Eighteenth Ward Alderman Jesse Todd, the only one who voted against the measure, said there were more important ways to use the money, including providing services in his ward that have been neglected.

“I think that city employees can live on the money they have now,” Todd said.

Others said employees were long overdue to have raises. 

In other business, aldermen filed 18 bills on the last day of the 2019-2020 session when they were allowed to do so. A total of 240 have been filed since the session started in April 2019.

One bill, introduced by Sixth Ward Alderwoman Christine Ingrassia, would establish a citizen commission to collect comments from residents and draw a new ward boundary map of St. Louis by Dec. 21, 2021. 

The Board of Aldermen would have to adopt the map approved by the commission. In the past, the board has set the boundaries every 10 years. 

Two bills sponsored by 20th Ward Alderwoman Cara Spencer call on the city health director to provide a list of organizations that are recognized by the Missouri Department of Mental Health as substance abuse recovery community centers. The bills call for a program to provide sterile syringes and supplies for intravenous drug users. The bills would provide limited protection from prosecution for employees and volunteers of recognized recovery community centers that provide the syringes. 

Another bill sponsored by Spencer would set a fee of $150.00 to cover the city’s cost of providing police security escort services during the city building division’s demolitions, repairs, board-ups and clean-ups of buildings or structures that have been declared public nuisances.

Jim Merkel Born and raised in the St. Louis area, Jim Merkel covered communities throughout the area from 1991 to 2013 for the old Suburban Journals of Greater St. Louis. He is the author of five books about the Gateway City published by Reedy Press. The latest is Growing Up St. Louis: Looking Back Through the Decades. He and his wife, Lorraine, live in the Bevo Mill neighborhood of south St. Louis with Miss Jenny the Cat. For more about Jim, visit

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