St. Louis (October 28) On Thursday evening, The Executive Board of the Municipal League of Metro St. Louis introduced to their members a policy supporting the City of St. Louis re-entering St. Louis County as the region’s 91st municipality.
The policy states that the multi-city structure of the County has served our residents well and should be preserved. But unless significant steps are taken to improve the opportunity to create new jobs and attract new businesses to our metropolitan area, the policy proposes that there will not be sufficient resources to sustain that form of government.
The Board believes that the re-entry of St. Louis City into the County will encourage a more coordinated strategy toward economic growth and development in the St. Louis region.
Unlike a full City-County merger, the re-entry proposal maintains local control of municipal services such as police, fire, public works and local land use and zoning.
League president Barry Glantz encouraged League members and public officials to act with a “unity of purpose” for regional growth.
“This would be the first step in opening the door to new sources of revenue, jobs, and businesses in the St. Louis metropolitan area in order to add to the quality of life for all St. Louisans,” he says. The plan is to maintain the existing roles of local governments, which, as Glantz added, “will require all government leaders to act collaboratively and think regionally.”
In light of a 50 year declining trends in the region’s economic base and population, the League believes there is a pressing need to generate economic growth and create collaboration among City and County elected officials and businesses.
Glantz says re-entry would also expand the national perception of St. Louis “beyond the Arch.” “The rest of the world sees St. Louis as one metropolitan area,” he says.
The re-entry proposal also aims to revise crime and violence statistics based solely on City populations. Unlike many other American metropolitan areas that hold municipal status within their surrounding counties, St. Louis is its own county and the national ranking is calculated based solely on the St. Louis City population of 318,727.
Pat Kelly, Executive Director of the League, cites 2014-2015 FBI crime data reports that rank St. Louis City in the number one spot in the country for violent crime. “However, if you look at the greater St. Louis Metropolitan Statistical Area, which in includes the City and County with a combined population of 1,320.6031, St. Louis drops down to 87th out of 368 metro areas in the nation for violent crimes. That’s a significant difference.”
The League is looking to add other stakeholders, business organizations, leaders, regional planners and civic groups to the conversation.
“The City and the County need each other,” says Glantz. “The artificial barrier that we have been struggling with for decades has inhibited our ability to generate new economic growth. It’s time for that to be addressed.”
For more information, please contact Pat Kelly at email@example.com or 314-726-4747
About the Municipal League of Metro St. Louis
Linking Local Communities, Strengthening Local Government
The Municipal League of Metro St. Louis is a nonprofit, nonpartisan, voluntary association of cities, villages and county governments dedicated to improving the quality of life for area residents. Learn more at stlmuni.org.
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Municipal League of Metro St. Louis