ST. LOUIS COUNTY, Mo. – A series of special elections are happening Tuesday across the area. Some voters will decide on the possible annexation of an area of unincorporated St. Louis County into the city of Manchester.
Polls open at 6:30 a.m. and close at 7:00 p.m. We’ve heard some strong words on both sides of the Manchester annexation issue. We’re talking about a roughly 2-square-mile area of unincorporated St. Louis County outlined in blue.
The area includes a busy stretch of Manchester Road and is home to numerous businesses. About 6,500 people live in the unincorporated area, and they’ll have the opportunity to vote on the annexation on Tuesday. So will people who live within Manchester City limits, but on separate ballots.
Voters have the choice to either approve or vote down the annexation of this unincorporated area into the city of Manchester. It’s a decision that has people divided and is not without controversy. Manchester Mayor Mike Clement and St. Louis County Executive Sam Page have both been actively campaigning, urging voters to make an informed choice.
Page has raised concerns that if the annexation passes, property taxes for people currently in the unincorporated area of St. Louis County will go up, and they’ll lose the close relationship they have with county police. Some people also fear their property value will decrease if the annexation passes.
Page believes the issue comes down to taxes because Manchester has a higher tax rate, and those businesses will bring revenue to Manchester. However, the city of Manchester argues taxes are why St. Louis County is opposing the annexation. Manchester’s officials released a statement a couple of months ago, saying in part: “St. Louis County is facing a deficit, and they want to keep local tax dollars elsewhere in the county, not in the annex area.”
Voters in both Manchester and the proposed annexation area must approve the ballot issue in order for it to pass. If people in Manchester vote ‘no’ and those in the said unincorporated area of St. Louis County vote ‘yes’, the annexation won’t happen, and vice versa.