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Regarding “Pine Lawn struggles with debt, dysfunction” (Sept.1): St. Louis County has been out of order for some time. While many neighborhoods continue to deteriorate, hundreds of millions of dollars are spent for questionable purposes.

Earlier this year, the St. Louis County Council approved $240 million from the county’s hotel-motel tax to go toward the St. Louis convention center expansion. Payments will start in a few years when the county finishes paying the $180 million for the dome.

Hazel Erby was the sponsor of the convention center bill. Contrary to what Erby claimed, revenue from the hotel tax can go for any general revenue purpose — such as helping to build up deteriorating neighborhoods — once dome obligations are met.

Last year, the County Council put a sales tax for the St. Louis Zoo on the ballot. There was no demonstrated need other than that zoo officials don’t want to charge admission. The tax was approved and St. Louis County taxpayers will now be sending about $450 million to the zoo over the next 10 years.

In addition, the county is paying millions of dollars every year toward the $110 million cost of a bond that helps to pay for the St. Louis Cardinals' Busch Stadium.

As long as priorities are so misplaced in St. Louis County, Pine Lawn and other struggling cities will find it difficult to make any progress.

Tom Sullivan • University City