Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Sex offenders barred from St. Charles County parks

Monday, March 3, 2008 6:40 AM CST

St. Charles County parks are now off-limits to registered sex offenders.

The County Council on Monday approved an ordinance that forbids some registered sex offenders from entering or loitering in county parks without permission.

Council member Joe McCulloch, D-District 5, who sponsored the bill, said the measure would give police another investigative tool if a person is suspected of loitering near children.Some people have cautioned that restricting the places where convicted sex offenders can go only gives people a false sense of security. McCulloch said the ordinance isn't intended to replace parental supervision of children.

The council also approved a 15 percent pay raise for future elected council members. Council members elected in November will be the first to receive $14,375 a year, and the remaining members would receive the higher salary after the November 2010 election. Currently, council members are paid $12,500. The council chair receives an additional $150 each month.

Council Chairman Dan Foust, R-District 6, said the increase is comparable to what other county employees have received during the past four years.

Two council members, Nancy Matheny, R-District 3, and Paul Wynn, R-District 4, voted against the measure. Both members said they wouldn't support such a large raise when the budget for 2008 was so tight. In December the Sheriff's Department requested and was granted a raise so that the starting salary for deputies would be comparable to other area departments.

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