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Legal counsel retained for red-light fight

Lake Saint Louis will pay its share of the legal fees in connection to a lawsuit challenging a countywide ban on red-light cameras approved by voters last November.

The city’s Board of Aldermen voted 4-2 at their March 2 meeting to sign a retainer agreement for legal services involving the lawsuit. Aldermen Tony Zito (Ward 1) and Jason Law (Ward 3) voted against the bill.

Zito and Law had opposed a first reading of the bill in February and its introduction in January. Law said he didn’t want the city to be in a position of favoring red-light cameras when the majority of county residents had opposed them.

Lake Saint Louis, along with the cities of St. Peters and O’Fallon, Dardenne Prairie Mayor Pam Fogarty and O’Fallon Alderman Jim Pepper, have filed suit in St. Charles County Circuit Court challenging the ban. The charter amendment was approved by 73 percent of county voters in the Nov. 4 election.

But officials from these cities want the election result voided because they question the county government’s authority over municipal laws.

“Our opinion is that it’s taking policing powers away from municipalities and the county charter doesn’t allow them to do that,” said Lake Saint Louis Mayor Kathy Schweikert. “We feel it sets them (the county) up for other areas where they can do this.

“It’s not about red-light cameras; we don’t have the intention of having them and we have never had them.”

Law called the cameras “a revenue grab” on the part of local governments that use them.

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