Prop P, the Arch Tax, which appears on the April 2nd ballot in St. Louis city and county, will distribute 60% of tax receipts to the Public/Private Partnerships of Great Rivers Greenway and CityArchRiver. These organizations collect taxpayer money and private donations to fund their operations. What makes this arrangement bad for taxpayers is that Public/Private Partnerships are not accountable to the taxpayer. If an elected official misspends taxpayer money you can vote that politician out. Public/Private Partnerships can spend your tax money on dreadful projects with no repercussions.
Currently city and county taxpayer dollars fund 70 million dollars to the following Public/Private Partnerships in the city of St. Louis, the Zoo, Art Museum, Science Center, Botanical Garden and the History Museum. Ten million taxpayer dollars fund 2/3rds of the History Museum budget. Unaccountability led to the waste perpetrated by former History Museum President Robert Archibald.
Investigative reporters at the Post Dispatch uncovered that Robert Archibald had purchased with History Museum money a rib shack on an acre parcel of land for $875,000.00 from ex mayor of St. Louis Freeman Bosley Jr. This purchase was made with no appraisal or environmental study. It was subsequently revealed the land has soil contamination and is appraised at $225,000.00.
Archibald receives a yearly pay package $515,000.00 in salary and benefits and then hired the public relations firm Fleishmann Hillard a stipend of $15,000.00 a month for damage control. To make matters worse Archibald resigned and was given a golden parachute by an unaccountable board at the History Museum a 6 month consulting contract at $270,000.00 and $567,000.00 for unused vacation time. County Supervisor Charley Dooley is quoted regarding the scandal involving Robert Archibald, “I want to thank Dr. Robert Archibald for his years of service helping the History Museum become an important cultural institution that has enriched our community.”
The only person enriched was Robert Archibald on the taxpayer dime. Charley Dooley can make those types of statements because he is insulated by the Public/Private Partnership arrangement. A No vote on Prop P is a vote for accountability and against corrupt Public/Private Partnerships.