Members of the St. Louis County Council and County Executive Charlie A. Dooley vowed on Tuesday night to seek ways around closing county parks, cutting services and laying off employees next year.
"I'm concerned about the parks and I'm frustrated about the parks," Dooley said at the regular meeting of the council in Clayton. "My family uses the parks, just like your family uses the parks. I'm confident that we can come up with alternatives to closing them."
Last week, Dooley sent a budget recommendation to the council that called for closing 23 of the county's 50 active parks, eliminating 175 jobs, cutting back on snow removal and closing facilities such as the West County Satellite Center.
Dooley said the cuts would save the county $10 million and balance the 2012 budget.
Council Chairman Steve Stenger, who strongly criticized Dooley's proposal, said he would "do everything possible to keep the parks open and to preserve services."
Stenger has accused Dooley of using the parks issue and the threat of layoffs and cuts in services as leverage to force the council to approve a tax increase. Stenger maintains that the county can balance its budget without making the cuts Dooley has recommended.
A majority of the council has said it would not approve Dooley's budget without changes. Failing to approve the budget by the Dec. 31 deadline would mean that the county would operate under the 2010 budget while the council regularly approves spending.
Read more: http://www.stltoday.com/news/local/metro/st-louis-county-residents-plead-to-save-parks/article_e906637a-5b11-5ae6-949a-9cd8a4c09f57.html#ixzz1dBbrvdsb