21st Century Government

“I took the Treasurer’s office and moved it from the 19th Century to the 21st Century. I will do the same with the mayor’s office.”

stlcityhallSt. Louis is considered a tech hub, yet our government processes are outdated and make doing business with the city inconvenient and inefficient. As Treasurer, I am the only candidate who has hands on experience reforming a city department. We used technology to help citizens effectively work with their government, streamlined processes, and saved the city money by doing so. As mayor, I will open the City Charter for comprehensive review and create the transparent, efficient city government that St. Louisans deserve.

City Government Process Modernization

City government is oftentimes overwhelmed by pressing public safety issues and day-to-day operations that prevent it from spending the needed time on modernizing government. However, investing resources in modernizing government will ultimately save the city money, time, and make St. Louis a more competitive city. I propose that we:

  1. Hire a full-time Chief Innovation Officer whose only job is to modernize city systems
  2. Harness local talent and international organizations to help revamp city government
    1. Support programs like Code For America and Girls Who Code
    2. Follow the recommendations of the Bloomberg What Works Cities Initiative
    3. Work with local startups to provide IT services
  3. Leverage city employee input to improve city government
  4. Facilitate monthly meetings with all city-wide elected officials to determine where synergies lie and what processes can be streamlined/combined and then work to implement these ideas

City Web Services Redesign

The city must overhaul its web services to make dealing with government interactions easy and hassle-free. As mayor, I will work to:

  1. Allow all city transactions to be made online
  2. Revamp and streamline government permitting processes based upon data and constituent feedback
  3. Map the business permitting process for entrepreneurs and update it based upon user input
  4. Redesign the city website to make it easier and more intuitive to find relevant information
  5. Move from a reactive to proactive complaint system

Transparency and Accessibility to Government

Increasing transparency encourages citizen participation in local government. As Treasurer, I worked to make sure that my office was easy to reach, easy to understand, and easy to work with. This needs to be done across all city departments. As mayor, I will:

  1. Promote open data across departments to allow tech companies to work on improving government
  2. Require departments to post agendas in accessible places and online well in advance of meetings
  3. Improve access to important government documents and city budget
  4. Provide a public comment period for changes in policy
  5. Implement Participatory Budgeting or other citizen engagement in budget process at both the city-wide and ward levels

Charter reform

The city should be open to considering every aspect of the City Charter and its effectiveness in the 21st Century. When I become mayor, I will work to:

  1. Implement term limits for mayor
  2. Streamline services across city and county government
  3. Support campaign finance reform alignment with State and Federal donation levels and investigate the possibility of publicly financed campaigns.
  4. Support the creation of an independent redistricting commission to direct the consolidation of the Board of Aldermen based upon the needs of the community and best practices for fair and transparent redistricting

The City’s 2013 Sustainability Plan

In 2013, the city of St. Louis produced a comprehensive Sustainability Plan. This is another document that cannot be allowed to just sit on a shelf. The next mayor must measure how well the city is doing at meeting its goals and realign government accordingly. One of the ideas in this plan that I particularly want to champion is the transition of St. Louis city to 100% renewable energy by 2040.

Equitable Taxation and Revenue Generation

The city needs to develop strategies to reduce government waste while making the taxing structure less regressive. As Treasurer, I looked through my department to find where I could make things more efficient and reduce waste. This saved the city millions of dollars. To do this across the city, I will:

  1. Create a task force on increasing government revenue
  2. Require each department head to create an action plan to reduce spending and increase efficiency in their respective departments
  3. Audit the current tax structure in St. Louis with establishment of a task force for recommendations on how to create a more progressive taxation structure by, for example, reforming our property tax structure to charge different rates of property tax for residential and commercial and industrial properties with higher rates for higher value land, such as a “mansion tax”
  4. Implementing local taxes on luxury items or convenience services such as Uber and Lyft
  5. Seek input from credit rating agencies about revenue streams that are going untapped, many of which affect the city’s credit rating
  6. Evaluate the possibility of restructuring the earnings tax into a graduated local income tax model 
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