Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

South Poll Voters Ponder Incorporating Their Corner of the County

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

South Poll Voters Ponder Incorporating Their Corner of the County

Article excerpt

FROM THE SNUG bungalows of Lemay to the elegant colonials of Oakville, South Pointe is a question, not a certain answer.

Voters on Nov. 7 will consider turning much of south St. Louis County into the city of South Pointe. The proposal needs a simple majority for passage.

But residents interviewed last week were uncertain whether incorporation would improve their community or just mean higher taxes. They did not rule out voting for the new city but said they needed more information to make up their minds.

Herb Hasenbeck, a retired upholstery shop owner living in Mehlville, said: "I have to sort it out. I don't know if I am for it or against it. How are we going to pay for all of this?"

Cathy Gross, an Oakville resident and student at Logan College of Chiropractic, said, "I don't know if South Pointe will be in the best interest of the community."

South Pointe would cover 47.67 square miles - most of the Mehlville and Hancock Place school districts and parts of the Bayless and Lindbergh districts. It would have 104,910 residents, becoming at birth the fifth-largest city in Missouri and the largest suburb in the St. Louis region.

Backers of incorporation say a new city could shore up the economy and tax base of the area. They argue that it would bring local control and return to the area tax dollars - in particular sales and utility taxes - that now go to the county government center in Clayton and are spent elsewhere in the county. (Backers have promised not to seek a property tax.)

Dorothy Letson, an 18-year resident of Concord Village, asked if "incorporation would give us a little more clout to deal with things."

Jill Pulley, a Lemay resident for eight years, said incorporation could bring better services because people closer to home would provide them.

Opponents say St. Louis County is doing a good job of providing services. They say South Pointe would create an unneeded bureaucracy and would mainly benefit a small group of businesspeople and politicians who are pushing the proposal. They argue that South Pointe may not have enough money to do all the things its promoters promise. A Livable Community

At a town hall meeting Tuesday, John J. Gerffet, an Oakville resident and developer, said South County is a very livable community. It has pleasant subdivisions and parks. Its stores are near residential neighborhoods - but not too close, he said.

A few blocks in the northeast end of Lemay contain old wooden houses that are deteriorating. But most houses are neat and trim. The neighborhoods start at the northern edge with small bungalows built between the two world wars and shortly thereafter. To the south, the houses are larger, newer and more elaborate. On the hills near the Meramec River, large ranch and colonial houses on relatively small lots stand out among the older subdivisions and the remaining farm fields. …

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