Questions about Better Together's proposal to merge St. Louis and St. Louis County continue to pour in from St. Louis Public Radio listeners and readers via our Curious Louis project.
Many of you have asked how the proposed metro government might be structured and provide city services. Some of those questions have already been answered in our comprehensive Q&A about the merger plan, which we'll continue to add to in the weeks and months ahead.
As for the new questions — here are 11 more, answered:
How will public works be consolidated among municipalities, St. Louis and St. Louis County?
Public works functions, such as construction and infrastructure for public use, will be in the hands of the new metro government.
I read that 10 deputy mayors will be appointed by the mayor once the merger takes place. Later will the deputy mayors be elected?
The Better Together plan calls for the appointment of four deputy mayors. Community Engagement and Equity, Economic Development and Innovation, Public Health and Safety, and Community Development and Housing. Appointments of deputy mayors will be made by the metro mayor. Any additional deputy mayors can be appointed by the metro mayor in the future. Deputy mayors will not be elected.
Clayton is more central to the area than downtown St. Louis, so how come downtown will be the seat of government?
Downtown St. Louis was chosen because of available space. Better Together officials said Clayton doesn't have the space and resources to house all of the offices.
What will happen to the employees and retirees of city and county government when they cease to exist and become the metro city?
Current employees will keep their jobs, according to Better Together, but eventually some positions will be eliminated through attrition and retirement. Pension benefits and liabilities for city and county staff will be honored and fully paid by the metro government.
What would happen to municipality street department workers?
Street department workers would be employed by the metro government.
Who will take over services now provided by the county to unincorporated areas, like trash pickup?
Trash services will not be affected in the county. Trash services for St. Louis will be determined during the transition period.
If you have a concern about a street repair and currently live in the county, under the merger, who do you contact for repair?
Streets will be categorized as a “general service” governed under the metro government. Residents could submit concerns over street repairs to the metro government street department.
What will happen with utilities? Who will control the utilities? St. Louis currently doesn't meter water for example. Will that remain?
Utilities for specific municipalities and St. Louis County would continue as is. Changes to these services would need approval from the municipality or the metro council.
Will there be a single commission or entity to review tax increment financing, abatements and other development incentives?
The metro council would have authority over TIFs, abatements and other development incentives.
What about municipal libraries? Will they continue to be local?
Municipal libraries and other political subdivisions will not be affected.
How will the merger affect the two boards of election commissioners? One in the city and one in the county? Will they combine into one?
The amendment directs the Missouri General Assembly to provide a board of election commissioner or other election authority for the metro government, but until such time, it requires the two existing boards of election commissioners to cooperate in conducting elections.
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