St. Louis business leaders back plan to put city-county merger on 2020 ballot

Nonprofit group Better Together wants to unify the city of St. Louis with St. Louis County, and it is set to unveil a plan for making that happen. The group wants the merger vote placed on a November 2020 statewide ballot.

Some business leaders say the move is essential to help the region remain competitive with peers.

Better Together plans to enlist a $25 million campaign targeted at putting the vote on a Missouri ballot. The group is mostly funded by billionaire philanthropist and political donor Rex Sinquefield.

The ballot measure would consist of a constitutional amendment aimed at creating a “metro city.” Existing municipalities would not go extinct, but the metro city would redefine how the city and county raise taxes, control development and oversee police and courts.

Fire and school districts would not be affected.

Some business leaders and government officials — including St. Louis Mayor Lyda Krewson and St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger — have expressed support. Other municipal officials oppose the idea; Chesterfield Mayor Bob Nation called the plan “absolutely un-American and unfair.”

St. Louis’ population has drastically declined in the past 100 years, from No. 4 in the U.S. in 1910 to 62nd in 2017. But St. Louis could rise all the way to No. 10 in population with a merged city of 1.3 million people.

Read more: St. Louis Post-Dispatch

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