St. Louis county and city merger proposal sparks debate on whether it would work

ST. LOUIS - It wasn`t a packed room Monday night but people, whether they live in St. Louis County or the City wanted to know, what does the possibility of a merger really mean?

The town hall meeting held at Harris-Stowe University encouraged people to speak their minds about the plan proposed by Better Together.

That included Leslie Byrd-Tate of St. Louis City, who had some idea of where she stands on the topic.

“Due to the fact of resources that are being provided within the county, we don`t have those same resources available in the city so as a whole I would think it would be a benefit for us,” said Byrd-Tate.

Erika Matthews of Chesterfield who was born and raised in St. Louis City said that so far, she supports the potential merger.

Matthews said it`s personal to her because of her profession.

“I think it will help us with our crime stats which is a deterrent,” said Matthews, “and I do work as a realtor, a lot of the times I am helping people who are coming in from out of town and I think we just get a bad rep.”

Arkila Covington said that she is pretty sure she isn`t for the consolidation. She believes the proposal is too complicated to understand. She wanted to know how it would impact schools, budget and law enforcement.

“If we are looking at the budget then we need to look at the treasury and then look at how we are allocating our money,” said Covington, “if we are looking at education, we need to stop digging holes in both the city and the county. We don`t really know why this was initiated in the first place.”

The town hall meeting was hosted by Sen. Jamilah Nasheed who is filing a joint resolution that asks for a majority vote from both the city and the county if the merger were to ever happen.

Organizers said that Better Together was invited, however, they declined to attend.

In a statement to Fox 2, Better Together said:

“Better Together announced last week a series of upcoming Town Hall meetings starting March 6th.  We know the community has a lot of questions about the Task Force’s recommendations and we look forward to a robust conversation.”

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