Meet Ward 3 Arnold City Council Candidate Phil Amato
Amato is one of two candidates running for the Ward 3 seat on the Arnold City Council in the April 2 election.
Patch sent all Arnold City Council candidates identical questionnaires in order to compile candidate profiles prior to the April election. Each candidate who returned the survey will be featured on the site this week alphabetically by ward.
Phil Amato, 59 (Candidate for Arnold City Council - Ward 3)
- Address: 2505 Hickory Square Parkway, Arnold, MO
- Occupation: Retired
- Education: Business Degree, Sales and Advertising, St. Louis Community College at Meramec
- Family: Married to Deb (no children)
- Years lived in Arnold: Over 50 years
- Please provide a brief summary of your background, highlighting community involvement if applicable.
- City Council 1980-1982; City Council 2001-2009; City Council 2011 to present
- Past President Jefferson County Library Board 5 years
- Current Vice President Jefferson County Library Board
- Headed Steering Committee for the Establishing Library District
- Headed Steering Committee for Establishing the Arnold Recreation Center
- Headed Steering Committee for Tornado Siren Warning System in Arnold
- Former member Jefferson County College Foundation Board
- Former member Meramec-Arnold Elks, Rotary, and Arnold Jaycees
- Presently serve on the Jefferson County Library and the Arnold Food Pantry Boards
- Please provide a brief summary of your reasons for running: I have a conservative, proven track record for getting things done. I Chaired the committees that started the Library, Recreation Center and Tornado Sirens. Convinced a new factory to build in the Industrial Park and paved the way for Anheuser-Busch to build the new $80 million addition to the Can Plant by sponsoring a Fast Tracking law that cut the red tape for a speedy construction process. I introduced a policy that stopped big spenders by requiring a Fund Balance (saving account) be maintained of no less than 35 percent of the annual budget. Personnel costs are also capped by my new policy not to exceed 60 percent of the total operating budget. I have and will continue to support FREE TRASH for Arnold Tax Payers.
1. What do you currently see as the biggest issue facing Arnold?
The biggest issues facing the City at the present time is to convince the council not to micro-manage the day-to-day operation and be policy setters. This immature fighting and bickering is embarrassing to all of us in the community and must stop. My plan of asking for tolerance behind the scene has not worked, so my new plan is to put positive ideas on the table and finally change the discussion. The other pressing issue facing the city is continued economic stabilization. We are in the most difficult times since the great depression and must find ways to continue the commercial development to bring jobs and a strong tax base. Tax dollars paid by big business lessons the tax burden on residents.
2. How do you plan to ensure the best use of taxpayer dollars?
I introduced a policy that stopped big spenders by requiring a Fund Balance (saving account) be maintained of no less than 35 percent of the annual budget. Personnel costs are also capped by my new policy not to exceed 60 percent of the total operating budget. I have and will continue to support FREE TRASH for Arnold Tax Payers. I reimbursed the city for all seminars I have attended that included registration, hotel and meals. My salary for being a city council representative is approximately $6,800 a year which I donate the majority back to the community. Last year, I donated my entire year’s salary to the Arnold Food Pantry to help with the down payment on their new building.
3. In what area does the Arnold need to improve? Are you satisfied with the way the city has been operating?
When this young City Council works together they are capable of producing extraordinary results. The Anheuser Busch Can Plant $80 Million expansion, the CVS Drug Development, Ross Dress for Less, and Northern Tool Company are a few examples. If the Council would work on projects of this magnitude that produce jobs and lessens the tax burden on our residents the entire community would prosper. In recent months however, youth and inexperience has dominated the disrespectful attitude at city council meetings and has been embarrassing to all of us that not just live here but call it our home. It is challenging for me that has served with many talented people over the
years to witness the ugliness of lawsuits and pure unadulterated hate that has manifested itself.
4. Assume you win the election. What thing do you want to accomplish during your time on the council?
Arnold has just received another award-winning audit report as has repeatedly happened over the past 20-plus years. Sales tax revenue represents almost half of the City’s annual budget and continues to rise. In the worst economy since the “Great Depression” Arnold has averaged over a 6 percent increase in its sales tax receipts because new businesses continue to open and expand. While most counties and cities in the St. Louis region are laying off workers and cutting back on services, Arnold has not and continues to give its citizens FREE TRASH. Over one third of Arnold’s vital tax money is devoted to protecting it residents with the largest police department in Jefferson County. This happens because business and manufacturing continues to provide a strong economic tax base. For every dollar brought in by business to cover the expenses of the community, less money is needed from residents. I am, however, so disappointed in the maturity and inexperience of many of the current council members. They must put aside their petty differences and stop the bickering and knuckle-head fighting to concentrate on other projects of this magnitude. It is disgusting to read the cruel things that are posted on city-issued iPads that were supposed to be used to save the community money by going paperless. I so hope in the next term to continue to convince council members to embrace our differences as a plus not a negative.
5. Many in the community have expressed discourse over the manner in which the council recently has conducted business. Specifically, community members have asked councilmembers to stop "bickering" and "do the jobs they were elected to do." How to you plan to address this moving forward?
My having gray hair and the most experience on the council has been a plus for the city in this term. This is because I have behind the scenes and in meetings encouraged people to be more respectful to one another and unfortunately in recent months egos have outweighed good judgment. Believe me when I tell you that as bad as things are they would be even worse if I was not constantly calling for more tolerance. Election time is like the full moon, it always brings out bizarre behavior, but even the normal for this time of the year is completely ludicrous. I hope in my next term to set a blistering fast paced agenda of advancement for the city to keep my young colleagues so busy they don’t have time to bicker and fight. If the people are disgusted now, times that by 10-fold if the community does not re-elect Ron Counts as Mayor. Ron Counts and I just don’t live in our city, it is our home, and neither of us believes you track mud in the living room.