Corrigan vs. Dooley: WU Decide
County executives are responsible for property taxes, public transportation and—if you live in St. Louis County—smoking bans. Next Tuesday, Republican Bill Corrigan will face off against Democrat Charlie Dooley in the race for St. Louis County County executive. Currently, Dooley, the incumbent leads fundraising efforts, having raised about twice as much money as Corrigan.
Corrigan grew up in Florissant, Missouri and attended Chaminade College Preparatory School. He attended the University of Notre Dame for his bachelor’s degreed and the University of Missouri for his law degree. Corrigan served as president of the Missouri Bar Association. He serves on the Board of Directors of several private and public companies. He is a member of the executive committee of a firm and has received a 40 under 40 award from the Saint Louis Business Journal. Corrigan is a former president of the Edgewood Children’s Center Development Board and a former Vice President of the Cardinal Glennon Children’s Hospital Development Board. He announced on June 2, 2009 that he would be running for county executive. He won the Republican primary with 88.59 percent of the vote.
Property taxes: Corrigan believes that property taxes need to be kept under control and curbed. He wants to make property taxes fairer by working with the state legislature to cap increases in property values of comparable sales of homes for the past year, instead of sales for 2 or 3 years.
Jobs: Corrigan seeks to promote and foster small businesses by improving the usage of Saint Louis County’s three business incubators, which he says are underutilized. He also aims to keep large companies and corporate headquarters in Saint Louis by attracting investment in Saint Louis businesses with his tax plan.
Tax reform: Corrigan laid out a solution to high tax rates in Saint Louis County. First, he wants to impose a moratorium in raising property tax rates on Saint Louis residents. He also wants to cap the increase in property values to the rate of inflation. Next, he wants to elect a county assessor to guarantee accountability and fairness. To keep jobs in Saint Louis and to attract business, he aims to promote fair and consistent taxes. Finally, he wants to make current tax assessments realistic and fair by utilizing a consistent and accurate comparable sales assessment process.
Code of ethics: Corrigan plans to implement a code of ethics for Saint Louis County, if elected. According to the plan issued on his campaign website, the purpose of the code of ethics is to establish and maintain the highest ethical standards for the Saint Louis County Government and instill the public with confidence in the integrity of the elected officials and employees of the count. It will also include a pursuit of costs-effective and fiscally responsible policies for the operation of the government. Finally, it will provide guidance to elected officials and employees in the discharge of their duties.
City-County Merger: Corrigan opposes a city-county merger. He says that there should be collaboration between the county and the city, but a merger could lead to the county assuming the city’s debts and its operating costs.
Dooley is the current County Executive of Saint Louis County, the first African American to hold the position. He has been in the position since 2003. Dooley grew up in Saint Louis and attended Wellston High School. He served in the U.S. Army in Vietnam and then proceeded to work for McDonnell Douglas for thirty years. Dooley began his political career with part-time positions in the village of Northwoods. He was elected there to the position of Alderman and later as Mayor. He served in that positions until being elected to Saint Louis County Council in 1994. In 2000, he led an unsuccessful primary campaign for Congress against Lacy Clay. He was appointed to the position of County Executive after the death of the sitting Executive in 2003. He has since been elected in a special election and for a full term.
Fiscal responsibility: According to Dooley’s website, fiscal responsibility is his first priority. Following the recession, he called upon his administration to make budgets cuts to the Saint Louis County Expenditures. He asked each member of his County Government team to cut costs where they could without impacting citizen services or existing employees. The cuts led to $26 million in savings and led to a balance budget. He seeks to continue this trend and maintain Saint Louis County’s status as one of a handful of counties with a AAA bond raring, which is a mark of financial stability.
Health care: Dooley has guaranteed that every woman in Saint Louis County has access to a yearly mammogram. In 2009, the County’s state-of-the-art mammography vans provided care to more than 400 women.
Property taxes: Dooley says that the county property tax rate has decline by more than five cents for each $100 assessed valuations in seven years. Seeing that tax increases result from rates set by jurisdictions, he does not want municipalities and schools to raise the rates.
Economic Development: Dooley promotes the biotechnology industry in addition to including a business incubator that would provide startup businesses with a low-cost way to begin. He supports the establishment of a “china hub” near Lambert Airport in order to promote trade with Asia. As County Executive, Dooley has dedicated many resources in his administration to find a new use for the former Chrysler Assembly Plant in Fenton. The property received a $1.6 ,million federal grant to search for a new tenant. The new team will have $2.1 million to develop a new life for the property.
City-County Merger: Dooley is in favor of Saint Louis’ entering Saint Louis County as the 92nd municipality but argues that Saint Louis voters should decide the issue. He also believes that a merger will not cost the county to expend any additional funds.
Ethics: Dooley established an ethics codes prohibiting former county employees from lobbying an elected official. Department or employee for a minimum of a year after they leave their position in county government. Dooley’s code mandates that all companies with county contracts comply with its provisions.