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St. Louis sues over Prop NS failure, wants to borrow $40M for vacant buildings

Vacant buildings owned by the Land Reutilization Authority in the 4000 block of Evans Avenue. February 2017.
File photo | Marie Schwarz | St. Louis Public Radio
St. Louis has filed a lawsuit to be allowed to borrow $40 million to stabilize vacant buildings it owns, like these in the 4000 block of Evans.

A lawsuit filed Thursday claims St. Louis election officials were wrong when they decided a bond issue to stabilize the city’s vacant buildings did not get enough votes in April.

The city, which filed the suit against the Board of Election Commissioners, is seeking to be able to borrow $40 million over seven years as laid out by Proposition NS.

Nearly 60 percent of voters approved the measure, which would have cost property owners an extra one cent per $100 of assessed value of their property per year.

But the election board ruled the measure didn’t pass because the city charter requires 67 percent approval to borrow money from a lending institution.


But St. Louis argues in the lawsuit that state law trumps the charter, meaning the measure would only need 57 percent approval.

The city wants a judge to order the Board of Election Commissioners to change the outcome. No other races on the April ballot would be affected.

Follow Rachel on Twitter: @rlippmann

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

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