In wake of Better Together plan, Chesterfield leadership ponders going from city to county

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CHESTERFIELD, Mo. – It appears the battle lines in the St. Louis city-county merger battle are becoming more pronounced every day.

The city of Chesterfield began looking into the possibility of becoming Chesterfield County to avoid the reunification plan.

“It’s a bad idea to start taking power from the people,” said Chesterfield City Councilman Ben Keathley.

Keathley tweeted a statement concerning how and he three other Chesterfield city council members voted Monday night to ask city staff to determine if Chesterfield City could become Chesterfield County.

“We owe it to our residents to keep options available on the table,” he said.

Chesterfield Mayor Bob Nation said the council’s action may be premature and not viable.

“I think it shows how frustrated, how appalled, the council members are at this entire Better Together suggestion,” he said. “It shows how we could go to any links, not just Chesterfield but any other municipalities, as to avert this catastrophe we see.”

People who live in Chesterfield have different opinions about becoming a county. Resident Fred Perlak supports reunification.

“I think Chesterfield being its own county is a little presumptuous. I don’t think it needs to be its own county,” he said. “There’s no reason why we shouldn’t be part of the city of St. Louis.”

Resident David Berkowitz opposes reunification and said he’d support Chesterfield becoming its own county.

“I’d like it better than merging with the city,” he said.

Dave Leipholtz, the director of Better Together, said Chesterfield’s move is a knee-jerk reaction.

“It does highlight a broader issue with our region, which is we have a small group of people whose success is defined very locally to them and isn’t thinking regionally,” he said.

Leipholtz believes voters in St. Charles and St. Louis counties would have to give approval for Chesterfield to become a county.

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