Letter to the Editor
To the editor:
Is it possible that the folks at Better Together STL sold snake oil in a previous life? I have so many questions and concerns about the process being rammed down our throats I have a hard time keeping count of them all.
The mere fact that our illustrious elected officials who on a good day can’t agree on the color of the sky suddenly are linked arm and arm on this issue should be enough to scare any common-sense voter to the bone.
Having read and reread the Better Together proposal I am struck by one overwhelming concern. Who is going to pay for all of this? We are promised huge savings by the merger, which I agree reducing redundant services should save money.
But on page 33 of their own report, they clearly state that they believe we could save $750 million, but because of the proposed structure changes such as leaving fire districts and municipalities intact the “full measure of those savings could not be realized.” I am a huge proponent of smaller and smarter government, but this process just doesn’t pass the smell test.
There is no plan to address the school districts. Why not? They are a huge contributor to the success or failure of a city. Schools certainly rise to the top of every parents’ list of concerns when considering where they will live. Could it be Better Together and its staff made up largely of former Democrat Party operatives was too afraid to confront their friends in the teachers’ unions? We may never know, but once again the education can gets kicked down the road.
Does anyone believe that the city of St. Louis will ever be able to surrender their precious earnings tax? They are graciously given 10 years to figure out how to wiggle out of that one. And once the new Metro City’s government is in place and the new budgets don’t align with Better Together’s projections, a convenient and time-tested way just happens to exist to solve those problems. Hello 1-percent, Metro City.
What happens when the city sells Lambert St. Louis International Airport? Because the city will initially continue to keep its own books, the billions of dollars of revenue will be parked out of reach of Metro City government.
Regardless of the contributions to the airport made by the county, that money will vanish into the vast wasteful bureaucracy the city has long perfected. I look forward to city Director of Operations Todd Waelterman’s explanation on why the city just had to have a fleet of Mercedes Benz trash trucks.
The crown jewel of this whole plan is the merging of the police and judicial systems, which as a concept I endorse. However, are we to believe that our police departments are suddenly so flush with cash they can afford the cost of such a merger? Because there will be significant costs. From new uniforms, equipment, training, signs on buildings and vehicles right on down to changing of the department stationary, the costs will be enumerable and real.
The truth is Better Together isn’t here for the long haul. They will see to it that their panacea of a plan will be dropped in our lap by outstate voters, and those of us who live in the new Metro City will be left to pick up the pieces and pay for the cost of their vision.