City-county merger

Steve Stenger
Alex Heuer | St. Louis Public Radio file photo

It has been six months since St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger took office after winning a close race against Rick Stream.

Beyond Housing CEO Chris Krehmeyer, left, Normandy Mayor Patrick Green and Cool Valley Mayor Viola Murphy pose for a photo after talking about municipality government with 'St. Louis on the Air' host Don Marsh on Feb. 5, 2015.
Alex Heuer / St. Louis Public Radio

If coalitions can get into schoolyard fights, then they did Thursday afternoon.

For nearly a year, the Better Together coalition has explored whether St. Louis and St. Louis County should consider merging services. Within St. Louis County, some believe there also is a need for consolidation: Sen. Jamilah Nasheed, D-St. Louis, has introduced a bill that would eliminate some of St. Louis County's smaller municipalities.

Berlin 1986
selbst fotografiert | Wikipedia

People in Berlin and throughout Germany recently celebrated the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. These commemorations should prompt some reflection closer to home, specifically on the state of local government in the St. Louis area. Doing so raises a fundamental question: If it’s possible for East and West Germany to be reunited, why can’t there be meaningful municipal reorganizations in St. Louis city and county? Whatever barriers we perceive in our community are minuscule in comparison with those that had to be dismantled in Germany.

Jason Rosenbaum/St. Louis Public Radio

Talk about ending the "Great Divorce" between St. Louis and St. Louis County has churned on for years. But discussions have heated up in recent months.

Courtesy of Better Together

A group studying the potential for a merger between St. Louis and St. Louis County released a report on regional economic development policy Wednesday. 

Among other things, Better Together’s 31-page report examines tax increment financing (TIF) in the city and the county. While the report emphasizes that some TIFs have been beneficial to municipalities, the study contends that the widespread use of TIFs is pitting municipalities against each other.

Jason Rosenbaum/St. Louis Public Radio

Updated Monday, March 3, 2014 to include audio from St. Louis on the Air.

Former U.S. Sen. Richard Lugar remembers a time when his home city was described by travel writers as “Indianapolis No Place.” 

When the Indiana Republican became mayor of Indianapolis in the 1960s, the city was mired in a “mediocre, flat situation.” He said it received “very little interest to anybody outside who was not involved parochially.”   

Jason Rosenbaum, St. Louis Public Radio

(Updated 1:30 p.m. on Friday)

Former U.S. Sen. Richard Lugar says bringing local governments can strengthen the health – and brighten the future -- of urban communities. 

The Indiana Republican was the keynote speaker for a St. Louis University Law School symposium on merging St. Louis and St. Louis County. He was a key figure in banding together city of Indianapolis with Marion County in the 1970s.

Lugar says merging the two governments had skeptics. But he says it attracted jobs, sports teams and tourists – and reinvigorated civic life.

St. Louis Public Radio

Some opponents of the effort to merge the city of St. Louis with St. Louis County have announced a new group – Common Sense for St. Louis – to fight any sort of ballot measure.

“We’re truly grassroots,’’ said spokeswoman Jennifer Bird. “We’re not funded by a billionaire.’’