Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Hanley Hills Officials Warn Residents on Disincorporation: 'Don't Give Up Your Power!'

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Hanley Hills Officials Warn Residents on Disincorporation: 'Don't Give Up Your Power!'

Article excerpt

HANLEY HILLS - An effort to dissolve the village of Hanley Hills is being opposed by members of the village's board of trustees, who may have misused city money to try to persuade residents not to sign a disincorporation petition.

Hanley Hills officials recently sent village residents a flyer inviting them to a town hall in March to discuss disincorporation and urging them, "Don't give up your power!"

That prompted the organizer of the disincorporation effort to file a complaint with the Missouri Ethics Commission, which is barred from discussing an investigation until its findings are made public on its web site.

The discord in Hanley Hills, a village of 2,000 residents in north St. Louis County, stands in contrast to the recent effort to dissolve the south St. Louis County village of Mackenzie.

A slim majority of Mackenzie voters on Tuesday elected to dissolve the village and turn it back to unincorporated St. Louis County -- which is exactly what the trustees there wanted. Within several weeks, Mackenzie's dozen acres and 132 residents will live in unincorporated territory, and St. Louis County will be down to 88 municipalities.

Five women who have run the village for several years ended up being as critically important to ending their municipality as they had been to keeping it going. The vote was 18-15, with their own five votes putting it over the top.

"To be honest, I feel relieved," said Dorothy Berry, 92, the village's oldest and longest-serving trustee.

But eight miles to the north, elected officials in the village of Hanley Hills are not as open to bringing the county's total of municipalities to 87. The flyer distributed to village households claimed that disincorporation would lead to higher taxes, a loss of local government and a potential lack of street maintenance. The flyer said disincorporation could mean tax dollars redirected to other county projects. …

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