CAHOKIA, Ill.- Three Metro East cities officially merged Thursday to create a single town called Cahokia Heights. Voters approved a referendum in Nov. with about 61% of voters in favor of the merger and nearly 31% voted against it.
The cities of Centerville, Alorton, and Cahokia merged to form Cahokia Heights. Officials hope this will help revitalize the communities.
Thursday morning, about 50 people gathered at the Cahokia Village hall to watch elected officials take the oath of office for the new city.
Centerville Township Supervisor Curtis McCall held his first meeting as the town’s first mayor.
“I can tell our citizens I’m going to be out here working hard every day. I believe that this is a vision not only that we the elected officials had but also the voters,” McCall said.
The new Police Chief Steve Brown said he’s excited to continue serving the community.
“To be able to command 36 police officers, I’m proud and I welcome aboard the challenge and look forward to it,” Brown said.
McCall said some employees should expect to see some pay cuts and layoffs. The only positions that will not be eliminated are police officers.
“The first thing I’m going to do is reach out to the 150 employees who lost their jobs today. We will have service available for them today here at city hall to help them navigate finding work,” McCall said.
Elected officials say they will focus on helping residents who are experiencing a lot of flooding and sewage backup after heavy rains.
“I will be meeting with the residents of Cahokia Heights who are having problems with sewers. We are the most powerful country in the world and the richest, and there should be no residents with raw sewage coming out of their back yard. Change is hard and change is not easy,” McCall said. “It was not easy for elected officials to give up their positions, but those who have stayed, that means they want to be a part of this new city in Cahokia Heights.”