St. Louis Again Rejects Meaningful Relationship with Illinois

By on November 10, 2017

From the Belleville News-Democrat:  Our forgetful friends across the Mississippi River are pondering consolidation, or rather St. Louis city and county remarrying after the “Great Divorce” that split them in 1876.

Consolidation potentially can create major efficiencies, ensure government services are consistent or even exist, and could save taxpayers in an area with one big city and 89 little ones, including the village of Champ with 13 residents next to the Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre. Even more enticing is being able to eliminate those 81 local courts, where weed fines and towing fees are used to keep the little municipalities alive — and stoked the fires of the Ferguson race riots.

St. Louis Mayor Lyda Krewson and a well-funded group called Better Together are pushing the marriage. An old poll showed city dwellers like it, but those in the county don’t. It’s a hard sell to convince county dwellers that taking on the big city’s reputation and poverty and bureaucracy will improve their lives, but that is what Better Together will work on in the coming year before our neighboring voters possibly face the question.

Good luck, because 132 communities considered consolidation between 1932 and 1996 but only 22 efforts were approved — fewer than 17 percent.

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About Dede Hance