By Rachel Lippmann, KWMU
St. Louis, MO –
St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay used his State of the City address Friday to repeat his call for stronger regional cooperation.
"Until we start speaking in unison, Jefferson City - both Democrats and Republicans - will continue to ignore our constituents. They will divert our tax dollars, cap our tax credits, run our police department and take our votes in November for granted," Slay told a crowd at City Hall of aldermen, administration officials, and union members.
The mayor called in his inaugural address for a merger between the city and the county, and regional ownership and operation of Lambert Airport. They are not, he said, calls for help from a financially struggling city.
"We're part of an overall region," the mayor said. "And in order for us to be stronger as a city, we need to be stronger as a region."
An administration official said the city counselor is looking into the steps that would be required for a merger - the furthest the issue has ever been explored.
Also in his speech, Slay endorsed a proposal from Alderwoman Lyda Krewson that bans smoking in almost all the city's public places.
"Nothing quite says 'regressive place to live' to young people like resisting a change already made in 29 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico," Slay said. That issue will demand regional cooperation - the city ban would not take effect until the county passes similar legislation. Listen to the Complete Address: