Friday, December 26, 2008

St. Louis County Stimulus Proposals

St. Louis County has assembled an economic stimulus proposal that would cost nearly $1.8 billion. The county estimates the 95 projects on its list would generate 57,360 jobs.

The projects generally would be complete in two years. The proposal also is a work in progress. “We would revise the list once a month – at the end of January and the end of February. We expect by March or April some sort of federal plan will be in place,” Garry Earls, Chief Operating Officer said. The county would add projects that meet its standards, he said.

Charlie Dooley directed his staff to include the county's 91 municipalities, school districts and other jurisdictions.

The economy, and the prospect of shrinking revenue for St. Louis County, have County Executive Charlie Dooley facing his toughest budget year since he landed in the job in 2003.

Dooley already placed freezes on the county’s hiring and salaries for current county employees, as he anticipates the financial crisis likely will get worse in 2009. He said he sees even more strain on the county’s $518 million budget for 2009, a figure about 2 percent higher than in 2008.

There are a few bright spots, said Dooley, who also serves on the East-West Gateway Coordinating Council board and oversees the St. Louis County Economic Council. The bright spots include managed care company Centene Corp., which is expanding in Clayton with a $215 million headquarters, and $250 million in Pfizer Inc.’s expansion under way in Chesterfield. The Economic Council is working on a number of smaller projects, he said, and a big project on the radar is Pinnacle Entertainment’s $375 million River City Casino and Hotel in south St. Louis County. That development is not likely to open before 2010, however.

Dooley said he’s trying to be optimistic. But he’s bracing for a rough 12 months and planning monthly budget reviews to keep the budget balanced.

The list of projects is quite extensive and can be viewed at:
or at:

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