Arch tax moves one step closer to ballot -

Arch tax moves one step closer to ballot

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By Dan Mueller By Dan Mueller

ST. LOUIS -- A plan to ask voters for a sales tax increase to fund improvements to the grounds of the Gateway Arch and other sites is moving forward.

The St. Louis Board of Aldermen on Friday voted 24-3 in favor of putting a three-sixteenths of 1 cent tax hike on the April ballot. A final vote is expected next Friday.

St. Louis County Council members gave preliminary approval earlier this week.

The sales tax would raise about $38 million a year for the next 20 years and fund a project to reshape the Arch grounds, along with improvements to parks and trails throughout the region.

The vote hasn't gained as much traction in St. Charles County, however.

According to St. Charles County Councilman John White, the $160,000 cost to put the measure on the April 2nd ballot was not worth it and it would have been the only thing on the ballot.

“That’s a large amount of money for taxpayers to pay without insurance they’re going to get any return for it,” White stated.

Regional supporters of the plan are disappointed but say they’ll move forward, though without St. Charles County, 20 percent less money would be generated.

Ryan McLure, spokesman for City Arch River, the company heading up the Gateway Arch improvement project, said, “The project definitely moves forward. We will not scale it back.”

White said the measure would have made it to the ballot if someone came forward to pay for it up front, but the timeframe to get issues on the ballot has expired.

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