Nonprofit group Better Together revealed a plan Monday to ask Missouri voters to approve the unification of St. Louis city and county. The group said it will begin a $25 million campaign to put the vote on a statewide ballot in November 2020.
Better Together says a combined St. Louis would save taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars and provide a more prosperous and fair community. Backers of the plan, including St. Louis Mayor Lyda Krewson and St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger, believe a city-county merger is necessary for the region to compete both nationally and internationally.
Opponents of the plan, including municipal mayors and members of the St. Louis County Council, believe a statewide vote is unnecessary and only city and county voters should make the decision on the merger.
People familiar with the plan had shared it in recent weeks, but on Monday Better Together released a 160-page report that calls for:
- A metropolitan city with one mayor, prosecutor and assessor, and 33 council members;
- Four deputy mayor positions to oversee specific government functions, including economic development;
- Elimination of existing municipal authority over sales taxes and economic development;
- Phasing out of the city’s earnings tax