Olivette is due next week to appoint members to its new "Olivette Future Task Force," charged with recommending "a specific program of action and financing plan for City Council and ultimately, Olivette voters" for new municipal facilities for City Hall and the police department. We decided to sit down with as many of the candidates as we could reach as we launch our "coffee with an Olivette editor" feature.
Dave Moser put his name forth for the Olivette Future Task Force because, in a word, the city's existing facilities are in extremely poor condition. He's referring to the facilities for City Hall and the police department, as well as the city fire department.
The idea for the task force sprouted in the aftermath of a withering defeat of two city bond issues before voters in August. One of those would have raised $9 million to renovate an office building in the Olivette Executive Parkway for a new city hall and police station. Plans included building a new fire house where city hall stands today.
"I think everyone was surprised those bond issues didn't pass," Moser told Patch. At the same time, he was seen as an opponent of them when he objected at a public meeting to some of the ways the financing was being arranged.
"I wasn't opposed to upgrading the facilities," he said. "But I wanted them to be a little more frugal."
Moser has lived for years in Olivette after being born in Clayton. He works part time as a building inspector for the city of St. Peters, where he's worked for about 12 years.
If he is named to the task force, he said a key question will be about what "improving Olivette facilities" really means. What kind of facilities does the small city fire department need? The city can't compete with (or feel like it should compete with) the facilities of the giant neighboring Creve Coeur Fire Protection District.
At the same time, he's a strong proponent of maintaining Olivette's fire and police departments. "I really wouldn't want the county police driving up my street."
Here are some his suggestions for moving ahead, from the information he submitted for consideration to the Olivette Future Task Force.
We should probably go ahead and get the the Olive Executive Parkway property appraised. If the seller was indeed taking advantage of us, then pursuing eminent domain would be a reasonable course of action at this point. Since the whole purpose of eminent domain is to avoid being manipulated in that manner , and given that we tried to negotiate in good faith but the bond issue failed, and if the building is still vacant, we should just go for it.
Emphasize Ambulance Service
The whole point of not being in a fire district is to avoid runaway spending. The proposed fire station, with its four large doors looks like something our neighbors to the west might build to house their excessive equipment.
We could make a very superficial change to the design that might reassure our residents that we aren't going down that road... we could shorten two of the doors, making them ambulance size. Our ambulance service is a money-maker; if we emphasize this to the residents, it might reassure them that we aren't wasting money here.
Dump Parks Proposal
The seemingly extravagant parks bond proposal—coupled with the recent and wasteful (Ladue School District tax increase proposal)—probably galvanized some voters to vote against Prop S when they would not have done so otherwise.
Do you agree with Moser? What do you think about the renewed efforts to upgrade Olivette facilities and Moser's approach?