Proponents, Opponents Argue over Lemay Annexation Issue

Article excerpt

Bella Villa officials and others promoting the municipality's major annexation effort lashed back at critics as well as at St. Louis County in a public meeting last week.

Most of the support for the annexation proposal is in Bella Villa, and much of the opposition is in the area to be annexed.

Bella Villa is seeking to grow from about 700 to 9,200 people and from .11 square miles to about 2.4 square miles in an annexation that would extend Bella Villa in all directions between Interstate 55 and Telegraph Road from St. Louis generally to Reavis Barracks Road. It would encompass most of the Lemay area.

Passage of the proposal depends on approval in Bella Villa and the annexation area in the election Aug. 8. It is one of three annexations or incorporations allowed to proceed before re-establishment of the St. Louis County Boundary Commission.

Annexation supporters, which included Bella Villa's aldermen, mayor, and two other speakers, provided the arguments that:

Bella Villa is not a speed trap, contrary to popular belief, or is no longer a speed trap.

The enlarged city can and will work economically and be an improvement over county government for unincorporated areas.

The county's critical stance toward annexation stems from a vested interest in maintaining the status quo and not neutrality as it says.

The supporters said a study of traffic tickets issued by Bella Villa's part-time police department in recent years showed fewer than one ticket every eight-hour shift.

Tim Fischesser, executive director of the St. Louis County Municipal League, said at the meeting that because of changes in the sales-tax-distribution formula, "cities can work as there is plenty of money." County government is not good or bad, he said, "but all but one of the council members do not come from your area, and you aren't represented well. …