News 4 is investigating how a local community action agency is spending your tax dollars.
The community action agency of St. Louis County (CAASTLC) received 10,857,339 stimulus dollars to weatherize low income houses. The agency spent just over 414,000 dollars to purchase 24 pickup trucks for work crews. A source familiar with CAASTLC's internal operations contacted News 4 with concerns about how little the trucks were being used.
The trucks are parked in a lot along I-170, and on five different visits at various times of the day the majority of the trucks sat idle. On October 6th all 24 trucks were parked at 1:45 in the afternoon.
CAASTLC received stimulus money to purchase the trucks from the Missouri Department of Natural Resources. "Our local weatherization agencies around the state were under tremendous pressure to ramp up, hire people to purchase vehicles and equipment," said Marcy Oerly with the D.N.R. Oerly says CAASTLC is one of the state's top performing weatherization agencies.
The community action agency purchased the trucks unaware of a federal law requiring them to pay crews prevailing wage. According to CAASTLC spokesperson Kathy Lucas-Johnson, "it was not a requirement they told us about at the beginning of the ramp up." After CAASTLC learned of the requirement they were unable to hire as many crews as they originally intended, which meant 24 trucks would not be necessary.
Lucas-Johnson tells News 4 six of the trucks have now been sold to another community action group that weatherizes homes.
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