A group opposed to public funding for a Walmart has set the wheels in motion for a recall of two Ellisville City Council members.
The Ellisville Article 9 Alliance has petitioned for recalls of District 1 Council Member Dawn Anglin and District 2 Council Member Troy Pieper, who were among those supporting the Walmart financing proposal.
The City Council recently approved tax increment financing and other public funding for the Walmart project for Manchester Road just west of Clarkson Road.
The council could vote as early as July 18 on whether to put proposals for recall votes of the two council members on a ballot, and to fund an Oct. 2 special election.
On June 12, the Alliance’s District 1 and 2 Petitioners’ Recall Committees submitted an official request for the recalls to the city clerk under the terms of the city charter, said Elizabeth Schmidt, interim chair of the group.
The recall committee requested a special election date of Tuesday, Oct. 2, and funding for the special recall election.
The group plans to begin the recall effort when blank petitions are issued by the city clerk, which should be by the end of this month, Schmidt said.
The city has to determine whether all the needed signatures must be collected before the council can take up the issues of recall ordinances and funding for a special election.
City Clerk Kate Demeter said Monday she has not yet issued blank petitions.
She said she's waiting for a response from the St. Louis County Board of Election Commissions on the total number of persons registered to vote at the city's last regular election.
She said petition gatherers will need to collect signatures of at least 15 percent of registered voters in both Anglin's and Pieper's districts.
Once those collectors start gathering signatures in each district, they'll have up to 90 days to complete the effort, Demeter said.
Schmidt said there have been no previous recall efforts in Ellisville and "this is a learning experience for everyone."
"But we are optimistic the council will do the right thing, and we'll start collecting signatures fully anticipating they'll allow citizens to exercise their right to recall under Article 9 of the city charter," Schmidt said.
The recall committees say the City Council has the ability to call a special election under the charter and the city has a reserve fund that could cover special election costs, Schmidt said.
A special election, for which Ellisville might pick up the entire cost, wasn't the Alliance's preference, Schmidt said.
"But the Nov. 6 Presidential election date, which we would have preferred because so many people will turn out to vote, would be too late for the recall efforts," Schmidt said. "By that date, according to law, Pieper and Anglin wouldn't be eligible for a recall vote."