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Sales tax increase proposed for rec centers

By Maria Hickey, KWMU

St. Louis, MO. – A sale tax increase for recreation centers is one of the many propositions St. Louis residents will vote on next Tuesday.

Proposition P would increase the city sales tax by one-eighth of one cent to build two new rec centers and improve existing facilities.

But the president of WYMAN, a St. Louis youth services agency, says the $4 million the tax will bring in each year will NOT be enough to cover construction and operating costs.

Dave Hilliard is encouraging residents to vote for the proposition, but he says the city will have to spend the money wisely.

If we were voting on two or three times as much money we'd be twice or two or three times as smart and well-positioned as we're going to be from here, Hilliard said. It's a beginning point, so if you're beginning small make very careful plans.

Mayor Francis Slay says the dedicated sales tax will be enough to cover both construction and operating costs.

"There is enough money that's going to be generated by that to help maintain it," Slay said. "Plus it's going to be fee-based. It's going to be like the YMCA. They will turn no one away. There will be a sliding scale based on their ability to pay."

The two proposed rec centers likely will be built in Carondelet Park in south St. Louis and in O'Fallon Park in north St. Louis.