Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

St. Louis Officials Consider Cash Incentives to Keep City Employees as Residents

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

St. Louis Officials Consider Cash Incentives to Keep City Employees as Residents

Article excerpt

ST. LOUIS -- City officials may tie an offer of extra pay for city government employees living inside St. Louis to the elimination of a requirement that most do so.

The idea of putting the two ideas together was discussed Wednesday at an aldermanic committee hearing on eliminating the residency rule.

"Instead of framing this negatively, maybe there's a way we can incentpeople, maybe give them a special kind of incentive on an annual basis for living in the city," said Personnel Director Richard Frank.

Frank said the figure might be $500 a year or so. He compared it to the $500 extra pay that city firefighters and police officers currently can get for taking a physical exam.

That amount would offset the 1% city earnings tax for an employee making $50,000 a year.

Frank said the idea came from Alderman Carol Howard, the sponsor of the measure to get rid of the residency rule. She said she hopes to amend her bill to refer to incentive pay in some way "if we can find the funding."

Allowing the city to do that without setting the amount in the bill might be the right approach, she said. She said she hopes to meet with the city budget director on the matter.

Howard, D-14th Ward, said putting incentive pay in the measure could reassure some voters who worry that repealing the residency rule would lead to large numbers of employees moving to the suburbs. Howard's proposal is a city charter amendment requiring voter approval.

"I think some people have this idea that it's going to be a mass exodus," she said.

Frank said Mayor Lyda Krewson also had brought the incentive pay idea for resident employees to his attention. Krewson's spokesman, Koran Addo, confirmed later that the mayor is considering it and whether the city could afford it.

"The mayor is very open to looking at what that might look like," Addo said. …

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