Monday Meeting of Soulard Tax Board for Private Police

UPDATE: Sometime after 8 am Monday, September 12th, Soulard Special Business District posted a notice to its website for the 6:30 pm Monday, September 12th Soulard SBD Meeting, less than seven hours notice for a public meeting on public tax money. That Notice says the meeting has been moved to Molly’s, a venue owned by Soulard SBD Chair Luke Reynolds (also Vice Chair of Soulard Community Improvement District, sales tax district). As of 10:30 am Monday, September 12th, the meeting Notice on City’s Public Meetings Calendar had not been changed to reflect a different meeting place. That notice says the meeting is at Soulard Station. Notices and edits to City Public Meetings Calendar get time-date identification. Notices on most special tax district websites only get a date first posted.

Original blog post below.

Or not.

Soulard Special Business District is one of St. Louis City’s special tax districts that fund private policing and part of last week’s two part investigative report by Jeremy Kohler for ProPublica.

We know that as a part of their response to the ProPublica investigation, Soulard SBD’s Board voted in November 2021 to hire Husch Blackwell as legal counsel for $5,000 “to ensure the Board complies with an ongoing Sunshine request and fully complies with the Sunshine Act.”

We know that before Jack Coatar was elected to the St. Louis City Board of Alderpeople, he served on the Soulard SBD. In May 2022, as Alder, he gave the welcome and introductions at Soulard SBD Neighborhood Safety Forum. Secretary of the Soulard SBD Board is Molly Doughtery, also Treasurer of Coatar’s campaign finance committee. Coatar is on Tuesday’s special election ballot to fill the vacancy caused by resignation of Board of Alderpeople President Lewis Reed, a friend of Coatar’s.

We know there’s a meeting notice for Soulard SBD on the City of St. Louis Public Meetings Calendar. We also know that a year’s worth of meeting notices and generic skeleton agenda’s were posted by the SBD Board to the City Calendar on Dec 7, 2021.

We also know that as of 5 pm Sunday, there was no notice for a September Soulard SBD meeting on the SBD’s website.

It doesn’t matter whether they’re having a public meeting without a notice on their website or failed to cancel the meeting notice on City website. It doesn’t matter whether they don’t want questions relating to the ProPublica investigative reports or Coatar’s involvement in tax districts before Tuesday’s election. It’s all Transparency Fail.

The Soulard SBD Budget includes $18,000 for Communications Management, $50,000 for Advertising/Promotion, $25,000 for Communications, $50,000 for Marketing/Branding. You would think that one of those line items includes competent online posting of public meetings notices at both their website and the City Public Meetings Calendar.