LSL aldermen override mayor’s veto of private street snow plow ordinance
By: Michael R. Smith
As expected, the Lake Saint Louis Board of Aldermen at its Sept. 4 meeting voted 4-2 to override the mayor’s veto of an ordinance that obligates the city to snow plow private subdivision streets, or reimburse residents of private streets if they contract their own plowing services. Ward Two aldermen Karen Vennard and Kathy Schweikert voted against the veto override.
The board’s action was expected because it voted 4-1 to pass the ordinance on Aug. 30 in Vennard’s absence. Only four votes were needed to override the veto and aldermen were unchanged in their original decisions.
Mayor Mike Potter said it’s the first time he has vetoed a board action. “It’s only used when you think you made a mistake,” he told the aldermen.
Among Potter’s veto reasons is that the ordinance includes only some private streets, the additional cost to snow plow all private streets if others are added later, the risk of city liability in using LSL equipment and staff on private streets, and the constitutionality of using public funds for services to private subdivisions.
The mayor and other opponents of the new ordinance contend that it defies Missouri constitution statements that public funds may only to be used for public purposes.
Ward Three Alderman George Rich explained that the board had been advised by their city attorney “that there is no violation of state statutes.”
Matt Ray, an attorney with the city’s legal counsel Armstrong Teasdale, advised the board during an executive session on the proposed bill at its Aug. 30 meeting.
During the Sept. 4 meeting Potter challenged Rey on the legal standing of the ordinance: “Did you guarantee the constitutionality?”
“I believe I couched it in terms of probability,” Rey said.
The board is expected to amend the ordinance to specify what private streets are included, to address city liability issues, to consider staff recommendations and to discuss other concerns in its implementation.
Potter said the amendment will “correct the mistakes they made.” Then he promised, “I’ll veto it again.”