Jones addresses crime, socioeconomic inequality, and unprecedented funds in State of the City speech

Published: Apr. 19, 2022 at 9:55 PM CDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

ST. LOUIS, Mo. (KMOV) - A once in a lifetime opportunity is how Mayor Tishaura Jones described the state of St. Louis in her State of the City Address Tuesday evening.

With nearly $1 billion in federal and NFL settlement money, Jones said she has big plans for the city’s future. However, she said there are problems that need to be addressed before we can move forward. Gun violence, unanswered 911 calls, overcrowded jails, hundreds of unhoused citizens and employees leaving City Hall. Those are the issues St. Louis continues to face head on.

“We cannot rewrite the past, but we can have the hard conversations about how we align our priorities so we can be a city where everyone can succeed,” Jones said.

The city’s future success was the main focus in Jones’ address Tuesday evening, citing unprecedented funding St. Louis has never seen.

“I truly believe that St. Louis is on the precipice of change and that our brightest days are ahead if we invest these resources wisely to make a long-term impact for generations to come,” Jones said.

Jones said she wants to use these resources to implement community violence intervention and 911 call diversion programs, guaranteed basic income plans to help families get and stay out of poverty, and the list continues. Jones promised to give city employees a three percent raise in the coming year, while working to retain employees, proposing $1 million going towards paid family leave for all city workers.

“We have to keep our benefits competitive and show our working families how much we value their dedication,” Jones continued.

Jones cited her dedication to city employees and residents too. While millions of federal dollars are already slated for communities across St. Louis, the mayor hopes to pour even more money into one of the most-needed areas in the city.

“I am proposing a historic $150M commitment for north St. Louis through our remaining American Rescue Plan funds,” Jones explained.

That money, Jones said, could be used for affordable housing and child care, adding grocery stores, and bridging the socioeconomic gap among St. Louis families.

“We have a once in a lifetime opportunity of our own to begin reversing these historic wrongs and put St. Louis on a path towards truly equitable growth that grows safe and healthy communities,” Jones said.

It’s important to note, the proposals and money associated Mayor Jones mentioned Tuesday must be proposed by an alderman and then approved by the Board of Alderman. The mayor didn’t take questions from the media at the State of the City Address, but News 4 will press for answers Wednesday.

After the address, Board of Aldermen President Lewis Reed issued the following statement:

“After more than 240 days, I’m glad to hear that the Mayor has finally joined myself and other city leaders in her willingness to target ARPA funds in North St. Louis. Although her proposal lacks specifics and dollars, it’s good to hear Mayor Jones finally make a verbal commitment to giving the people of North St. Louis the help they so desperately need. From the beginning, this has been a clear priority of the Board of Aldermen. There have now been two board bills that have been sent to her desk both with unanimous favorable votes, the first had the funding for North St. Louis removed by a line-item veto. After tonight’s remarks, my hope is that history doesn’t repeat itself.”