St. Louis City and County: Divorced in 1876. Remarried in 2020?

By on January 8, 2019

From St. Louis Post-Dispatch:  A nonprofit group largely funded by a billionaire philanthropist and political donor is set to unveil a plan that would ask Missouri voters to force the city of St. Louis and St. Louis County together, reversing a split widely faulted for sinking the region’s ability to compete with peers such as Indianapolis and Nashville, Tenn.

Get ready to hear a lot more about it. The group, Better Together, will undertake a $25 million campaign to put a city-county merger vote on a statewide ballot in November 2020. The issue is likely to dominate public discussion in the region for much of the next two years.

Largely bankrolled by billionaire Rex Sinquefield, the group is preparing ballot language for a constitutional amendment that would superimpose a new type of government — a metro city — over the city and county. The action would not dissolve existing municipalities, but it would sharply curtail their ability to raise their own taxes, control development or run their own police and courts.

The proposal, even in its infancy, has drawn skepticism and scorn from many municipal officials, pitting them against business executives who insist the region can’t move ahead without consolidation.

Chesterfield Mayor Bob Nation called the plan “ludicrous, thoroughly shortsighted … absolutely un-American and unfair.”

But business leaders insist it must happen.

“I think there are an increasing number of people who realize this has to be done if St. Louis is going to rise to its potential and once again be recognized as one of the truly great metropolitan areas in this part of the world,” said George Herbert Walker III, a founder of Better Together, a cousin of the late President George Bush, and a former chief executive of St. Louis investment bank Stifel Financial Corp. “I am very excited about it. It’s taking off.”

St. Louis’ place among U.S. cities has slid steadily over the decades, from fourth in population in 1910 to 62nd in 2017. A merged city, with a combined population of 1.3 million residents, would be the 10th largest city in the country, between Dallas and San Jose, Census figures show.

People with direct knowledge of the plan shared details with the Post-Dispatch last week.

Read more.


About Dede Hance

One Comment

  1. Crymeariver

    01/08/2019 at 2:04 PM

    Firmly stuck in the 1970’s the region continues to fail. St Louis City and St Louis County in recent years have teamed up to graduate from the “MOST DANGEROUS CITY IN AMERICA” to become the “MOST DANGEROUS REGION IN AMERICA”. So no one can still say that the two have not worked together. The same crime families are firmly in control and profiting off the taxpayers as they always have and have been blowing down the small housing stock in Ladue to build their McMansions and maintain their same zip code but with more “Bling” to flash at the other crime families of the inner monied circle of Clayton, Ladue, Frontenac and Huntleigh.