St. Louis Board of Aldermen
12:49 pm
Fri July 6, 2012

St. Louis Board of Aldermen votes to halve its numbers

Updated with quotes from sponsor Phyllis Young.

The St. Louis Board of Aldermen voted today to reduce its numbers by more than half, but city voters will have the final say.

Today's vote passed 21-7 - an expected result, as it cleared a procedural hurdle June 29 with 19 votes.

Some aldermen, particularly in the city's poorer wards, were concerned that the level of services would drop even further even they represent more people. But Ald. Phyllis Young, the sponsor, said there are other city resources available that residents should become aware of.

"You don't need to call an alderman for each little problem that you have," Young said. "Some people try to cultivate that so they're an important person in their ward."

The approved bill will now go to the ballots of city voters in November- as a charter amendment, it needs 60 percent support there to take effect.  Similar measures have failed before, but Young says unlike previous efforts, this has the support of aldermen who will campaign for it.

Young says it's unlikely that anything will happen campaign-wise before the primary election in August, but apparently, supporters got an early start. Ald. Tom Villa said he'd received a robo-call on the issue. Young says she had no idea who paid for it.

The actual structure wouldn't change for a while - the first election with 14 wards would take place in 2023, when everyone would be elected. Some wards would run again two years later, and after that, everyone would serve four-year terms.