Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

The Nine Boroughs of a Greater St. Louis

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

The Nine Boroughs of a Greater St. Louis

Article excerpt

We have all heard that there is too much fragmentation in St. Louis. Duplication, waste and inefficiency abound, and there is no way to bring about change because the kings and kingdoms are firmly entrenched.

With worldwide focus on Ferguson, and municipal courts under scrutiny, a new structure laid out on a blank sheet of paper offers an opportunity for a timely discussion. Now, more than ever, St. Louisans are saying, "Anything is better than what we have."

Let's start by combining St. Louis County's municipalities, reducing the number from 90 to seven. The boundaries of these new municipalities would be those of the St. Louis County Council districts, each with an approximate population of 143,000. We'll call them boroughs.

Each would have an elected mayor, council and local control to keep government close to the people. Each borough would have a police and a fire department, thereby reducing the number of police departments from 57 to seven, and fire departments from 43 to seven. Municipal courts would be reduced from 81 to seven.

Each borough would control its own planning and zoning, public works, trash pickup and similar local services. Highways, parks, police, fire and health services offered within the borough would be maintained locally. Local services would be provided by local government, and citizens will know and have access to the "cop on the beat."

Yet we are one metropolitan area. To coordinate local governments, in lieu of county government there would be a council of seven mayors, and the council would retain a CEO, much like a professional city manager. With the input and consent of the council, the CEO would appoint seven-member coordinating boards, with one member from each borough for police, fire, highway, health, parks and other regional functions. Each board would oversee central services.

For example, the police and fire boards would be tasked with establishing recruiting and training programs and setting pay standards. The police board will oversee the dispatching of police, crime investigation and lab and emergency services.

By eliminating a number of executive offices, an expanded pool of applicants will become available, as higher pay can be offered for a new wave of qualified executives. …

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