Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Maryland Heights Welcomes Newly Annexed Area

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Maryland Heights Welcomes Newly Annexed Area

Article excerpt

At 12:01 this morning, Jerry Walsh inherited three miles of potholes to patch, sewers to clean and snow to plow.

Today, 495 acres of unincorporated St. Louis County south of Lackland Road officially join the city of Maryland Heights. Walsh, a foreman for the city's Streets and Engineering Department, is one of the workers charged with maintaining the area's three miles of streets.

"It might be more work cleaning the sewers, but that's OK - that's just more job security," said Walsh, 34. "And maybe even some more money in my pocket." The annexation comes exactly one year after three residents voted to become part of Maryland Heights. The area where they live is mostly commercial land bounded by Lackland Road, Lindbergh Boulevard and Interstate 270. The city has expanded its staff to service the area. Maryland Heights is expected to get an estimated $500,000 a year in utility and sales taxes from the annexation. "This is the first big-growth, large-scale annexation of the city in its 10 years, and because it's so far removed from the residential area of Maryland Heights, I don't think the average resident is conscious of it," said City Administrator Mark Levin. Added Mayor Michael O'Brien, "We're not popping any champagne corks or anything, but the bottom line is that we're building property." Here's what will change for businesses and residents in the area: Businesses will add a half-cent to the sales tax rate. The new rate will be 6.475. Money from the increase goes to storm-water maintenance. A .5 percent utility tax increase will show up on utility bills. Money from the tax goes to a street light fund. Maryland Heights will handle all street maintenance and police protection, instead of St. Louis County. Harold Kaatman, 84, one of the three residents in the area who voted for the annexation, said the only thing that will change in his life is the city he calls home. …

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