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Aldermanic vote on changing St. Louis’ residency requirement delayed

Rachel Lippmann | St. Louis Public Radio
A vote on a bill that would lift the requirement that St. Louis employees live in the city has been delayed by a few months.

St. Louis aldermen will wait a few months before voting on a bill that would change the city’s residency requirement.

A committee heard public testimony on Alderwoman Carol Howard’s bill earlier this month but did not take a vote. The current session of the board essentially ends in March, and Howard, D-14th Ward, now says she will wait until lawmakers come back after the break for a new session in April to get a different version approved.

Howard’s original bill would have allowed all city employees to live where they choose. Right now, the chartersays employees have to live in St. Louis to keep their jobs, although there are a few exceptions.

Howard said she wanted to make sure it was clear that if the residency requirement is eliminated, first responders must live close enough to deal with a mass emergency.

“In the times we live in, anything can happen at any time,” she said.

Howard said she introduced the bill because the city is having trouble recruiting workers.

“I’m looking into providing some incentives to people [who] move into the city, and possibly providing some incentives to people that remain in the city,” she said.

Despite the delay in the Board of Aldermen taking action, Howard said she’s confident voters will get to decide on the charter change in August. It would require 60 percent approval.

Follow Rachel on Twitter: @rlippmann

Rachel is the justice correspondent at St. Louis Public Radio.