Looks like folks in Kansas City, and across the rest of Missouri, may not have a say in whether or not St. Louis City and County merge into a Unified Government, similar to the one in Kansas City, Kansas.
Since the proposal creates a new form of government, the State of Missouri Constitution would require the issue be put to a vote of all Missourians with promoters pushing for the issue to appear on the November 2020 ballot. (See http://www.communityvoiceks.com/news/kansas_city_news/behind-the-st-louis-city-county-merger-campaign-are-they/article_9f652bba-6b87-11e9-bf75-cf075fe07a47.html)
This week, Better Together – the official organization promoting unification – announced they were withdrawing their effort to merge St. Louis and St. Louis County through a statewide initiative petition. Instead, the group says they will focus on finding a merger process that will allow only city and county residents to approve its plan.
Seems like they don’t want folks in Kansas City, Columbia, Jefferson City, et. al., having a say in their business.
“We’re going to study what changes in the law are needed to enable the voters of the city and county to make the reforms they need and support,” Washington University Chancellor Mark Wrighton, who has been spearheading the effort, said in a statement released Tuesday.
Merger proponents said they needed to pursue a statewide vote in order to merge police departments and municipal courts. The announcement Tuesday is a major shift for a proposal that’s effectively united Democrats and Republicans in opposition, primarily because of the prospect of a statewide vote.
As proposed, the new metropolitan government would have been made up of the current City of St. Louis and St. Louis County. Instead of a mayor for St. Louis and all of the other municipalities in the county and a St. Louis County executive, the new Metro City would be governed by an elected Metro Mayor.
Voters would elect a 33-member Metro Council, whose members represent different defined districts of the county. The plan would have reduced the number of elected officials from 670 in the 89 municipalities, to one mayor and a 33-member council elected from each municipal district. There would be one police force, one court, and one consolidated planning, zoning and licensing process.
The task force’s plan faced opposition from the Municipal League of Metro St. Louis and others who oppose a statewide vote, but they were also worried about forfeiting local control.
Stay tuned, there’s more to come on this.