O’Fallon, Mo. officials reevaluate plan after voters turn down Prop J

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by KMOV.com Staff

KMOV.com

Posted on April 9, 2014 at 6:49 PM

Updated Thursday, Apr 10 at 6:16 AM

 (KMOV) – Voters may have turned down Proposition J to build a new police department and justice center in O’Fallon, Mo., but the issue is not dead in the water.

A city spokesperson said city staff will sit down on Thursday and start analyzing election results to see what they can learn.

The city put on about 80 presentations to community groups telling them the police department was running out of room and had outgrown its headquarters.

Matt Johnson said he voted yes on Prop J, he’s been active with his neighborhood association and said the building housing, the courts, city hall and police department has grown crowded.

“There’s a lot of activity there...feels crowded sometimes...when there's council meetings going on other civic activities and there's also police activity,” said Johnson.

But voters turned down both Prop J and Prop P, another bond issued which would have expanded and improved city parks.

Both needed a 4/7 majority, nearly 58-percent to pass. Less than half the voters approved J. Prop P did slightly better with just over 53-percent.

“We knew it was going to be close and we knew it was a difficult hurdle when you're looking at 58 percent in order to pass,” said City Manager Tom Drabelle.

He said the city will now decide how to move forward and when. A proposal for a new justice center will be floated again with input from city council and the public.

But it’s too early to determine if it will be basically the same pan or significantly different.

Drabelle said, “we spent about 3 years going through process that brought us to where we are today. Now we’ll go back and almost start over to some degree, we still know the needs that are there. We’ve already established those and that hasn’t changed.”

Either way, Johnson said it’s needed for a growing community, saying “clearly down the road there will be a point where it's an absolute necessity.” 

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