Pevely’s Insatiable Lust for Revenue

20 Apr

Fresh off the approval of two tax hikes by voters two weeks ago, Pevely is not done seeking out more money to continue its spendy ways. In its first meeting since the election, and the resignation of Alderman Dave Shelley, the board approved the gross receipts tax that was rejected in March. This will cost residents an extra $3 to $8 per month. New alderwoman Debbie Hurley approved the tax, and in a switcheroo, Marlin Hahn, who voted ‘no’ last time, voted for it. In the Leader, Hahn said he changed his vote because the city’s financial situation has hit crisis level. I suspect, though, that it didn’t hurt that the tourist and business tax hikes are safely passed by voters now. Steve Markus and Don Menkhus voted for it once again. New alderwoman Ilda Kennon cast the lone ‘no’ vote.

If that isn’t bad enough, Pevely is thinking of dipping its toes into the cesspool of red light cameras, according to the April 18 Leader. These cameras are implemented in places like Arnold (Pevely’s municipal mentor) under the guise of safety, but in reality are cash cows. Of course, half the money goes to the camera vendor, which will use campaign donations, lawsuits, and even corruption to maintain the flow of resident’s money into their pockets, even if the residents are opposed to the cameras. Pevely contacted local racketeering organization/red light camera vendor American Traffic Solutions (ATS), and they are “studying potential sites (along Hwy. Z) to see if cameras are warranted.” In other words, ATS wants to see if they can make enough money to justify doing business in Pevely.

Pevely will also be putting its revenueers police officers to work by stepping up traffic enforcement. This includes devoting an officer entirely to writing tickets. But don’t worry, it’s primarily about safety, city administrator Terry Thomas said:

“It’s more of a safety issue. It’s not that we’re going to go after everybody and make a whole lot of money.”

Thomas claims Pevely is also cutting spending, but the only cuts he mentions that are not just reshuffling accounts are not replacing employees who depart, not paying overtime, not printing board packets for visitors at meetings, and reducing city attorney expenses from $100k to $40k. The first three are painless moves. The last one is significant, though, not because of the savings, but because it means we don’t have to fear that Bob Sweeney will become city attorney in Pevely any time soon. He won’t work for such a pittance. That aside, I would like to see Pevely make some tough spending choices, such as:

  • Go in with the county on animal control and 9/11 dispatching
  • Lose a couple of employees
  • Make employees pay a portion of their health insurance premiums

The city was $7,000 short on its bills in April, and Thomas said in March the city may run out of general fund money in June. If the situation is this serious, Pevely will have to start thinking about real spending cuts. Or, they could take the advice of David Stokes at the Show-Me Institute and just disincorporate.

On another note, I guess they are fans of the Topix website at Pevely City Hall. Thomas was overheard reading this post out loud to the ladies in the office. It seemed to have his approval:

we need change, I see that there is a few alderman that recognize the need for change to be able to save this city. the mayor also needs to recognize the need for change or we will be the first city to go bankrupt in missouri CHANGE IS GOOD. we need members on the board that have at least some knowledge on budgets or finances. one if our newest members has not clue of what the hell shes doing what a waste of votes . she was very inappropiate at the meetIng and did not present herself well to the public. Mr Mayor I know you will see this so I will address this to you. even I relize that the citys financial state needs help, if that requires more businesses, tax increase within reason or other means to generate revenue, then you should also

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4 Responses to “Pevely’s Insatiable Lust for Revenue”

  1. Bob Hohmeier April 21, 2013 at 10:06 am #

    Will there be a public hearing on the scameras? If so, do you have the date?

    Like

    • JC Penknife April 21, 2013 at 1:45 pm #

      Sounds like they are still in the exploratory phase, but I will stay on top of this.

      Like

  2. Chris July 4, 2014 at 8:59 pm #

    Let me get this straight. Running a red light is illegal (and dangerous). The camera can be set to only capture those who blatantly run a red light for which it takes a picture and provides legal evidence of the law breaking. Then the adult punishment is you get a fine and learn the adult lesson to slow down. And the Penknife is against this type of clean justice? There is a picture of the broken law.

    Yes it does create “revenue” but does it also cut down/expose illegal activity. Should it be at all intersection…No. But for some specific intersections then yes it has a purpose. If you think the camera is located on a street that is to slow, then run for office and change the speed limit.

    But labeling something a “lust for revenue” or a “scamera” if it catches illegal activity is silly. I mean, imagine this conversation “hey honey, I am pissed because Pevely’s scamera caught me blatantly dealing meth and they sent me a fine.”

    Of course somebody will probably counter argue that driving there 1000 lbs vehicle through in intersection is different. Or the technology can’t take the picture fast enough or correctly (but we can gather very U.S. citizens phone call).

    Like

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  1. Motorists Beware in Pevely | Jefferson County Penknife - June 17, 2013

    […] discussed in April Pevely’s plans to enlist the local police in the city’s never-ending quest for revenue, by dedicating an […]

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