Prop S has a typo, but it has no bearing on the meaning, city manager says; No funds will go to police

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A Maplewood resident emailed 40 South News several days ago saying she was concerned about some language in the ordinance connected with Maplewood’s Proposition S, to be on the ballot in April.

Prop S is a $6 million bond issue for streets, sidewalks and street lighting. The funds would go farther than the annual repair work, which comes from the city’s Capital Projects Fund, according to council member Nick Homa.

The resident’s concern was (and is) that the ordinance connected to the proposition refers to “the Project and the Police Project.” Since the funds are for street repair, why is “police project” in the ordinance, she asked. See a PDF of Bill 6234 Ord 6029.

“Police project” is a typographical error left over from an earlier draft of the bill and has no bearing on the ordinance, according to City Manager Amber Withycombe, who spoke with bond counsel about it.

“You will note that Section 4 references ‘The Project’ and the ‘Police Project.’ The ‘Project’ as it is defined in Section 1 of the ordinance does not include a ‘Police Project.’ In conferring with our bond counsel at Gilmore & Bell, I learned that ‘Police Project’ is draft language that should have been removed from the final ordinance before it was passed last fall,” she said. “Since ‘Police Project’ is not a defined term in the ordinance and Section 4 specifically references the ‘Project’ (which is defined in Section 1), Gilmore & Bell has advised the city that mention of the ‘Police Project’ is a typographical error.

“‘The Project’ as defined in Section 1 is strictly limited to ‘constructing, reconstructing, extending, repairing and improving city streets, sidewalks, and street lighting.’ The bond will not include a ‘Police Project,’” Withycombe said in an email.

“It’s a scrivener’s error and as such does not impact the meaning or implementation of the proposition, nor does it require an amendment to the ordinance,” she added.

Withycombe said the typo was brought to her attention when a resident called her on January 25, 2024. She wasn’t in her position as city manager when the ordinance was passed in November 2023.

After speaking with the resident, she contacted the city’s bond counsel, Shannon Creighton at Gilmore & Bell, to seek advice about how to address the issue.

Since the St. Louis County Board of Election deadline for ballot items was January 23, and because passing an amended ordinance would have required three ordinance readings over two council meetings, any change to the ordinance would not have been reflected until late February, she said.

“Given that the typo does not impact the meaning or implementation of the ordinance or the proposed use of the bond funds, Ms. Creighton advised that we leave the ordinances as-is,” Withycombe said in an email.

A representative from the St. Louis County Board of Elections said Thursday that the ordinance could be amended, but it would be a tight window to have it on the ballot.

Two Maplewood council members, Nick Homa and Matt Coriell, have confirmed that the wording is a typo and that counsel advised against changing it.

Also, Chief of Police Matt Nighbor has confirmed that no money is going to the police department from the proposition.

 

 

6 COMMENTS

  1. Prop S sounds reasonable which is more than anyone can say for that ill-conceived performative Prop J nonsense that has more holes in it than swiss cheese. Voters and taxpayers need to wake up NOW before that dumpster fire gets voted through on April 2nd.

  2. Remember when we used to read the things we voted on? Or signed the things we signed? This is not on Ms. Withycombe and her explanation is appreciated. A word of advice as she learns her new role: you probably already know more than council, don’t defer to them one bit.

  3. What are the details of this, what appears to be, additional tax? Don’t we usually get an amount, or percent, or a non-increase statement when something like this is on the ballot? Anyone? Thx!

  4. Why not just correct the wording and remove ( Police Project)? we’ve had enough mistakes with Maplewood government, and the school board lately. It’s time to get their act together!!!!

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