Green Park alderman proposes officials research annexation, charter-city status


Annexation may stretch boundaries as well as ideas and community involvement for the city of Green Park.

The Board of Aldermen briefly discussed the possibilities of obtaining charter-city status or pursuing annexation during a recent meeting. Ward 1 Alderman Tony Pousosa resurrected the issue of annexation, which had been dismissed by the board in 2007.

“Back in 2007, it was not really acted upon,” Pousosa said. “It was something that I mentioned that didn’t really get a response out of anyone. I just figured the interest wasn’t there.”

The alderman proposed to begin researching annexation so the board could consider the process within the time frame surrounding the 2010 census.

“There’s nothing wrong with doing research to find out what people are thinking and to kind of go from there,” Pousosa said. “If you don’t do the research, you’ll never know what the possibilities are.”

City Attorney, Paul Rost explained annexation as the process of proposing to enlarge a city’s boundaries into an unincorporated area.

If the Board of Aldermen decided to pursue annexation, a plan would be submitted to the St. Louis County Boundary Commission, which would decide if voters could consider the proposal.

Such a proposal could entail bringing in “another subdivision or another couple of subdivisions or a retail area,” Rost said. “You would ask the boundary committee, and show them a plan. Then they would look at it and see if it makes sense.”

Rost believes the new parts of the city would benefit from the services Green Park provides its residents. Additionally, Green Park would receive an increased amount of tax revenue because sales-tax funds are distributed based on the number of residents within city boundaries.

Pousosa emphasized annexation would not only expand the city’s boundaries, but also enlarge the potential of the community.

“You always want to be looking, not necessarily for expansion, but for opportunities to grow and better the community,” he said. “That’s the reason you annex, not because you want to land grab and not because you need tax money. You want to build a better community where people are truly represented, and you don’t have to track off to somewhere like Clayton to be heard. It’s close local government that you have a say in, and it’s easier to participate in instead of driving to Clayton.”

Pousosa’s suggestion appeared to have surprised other city officials. Mayor Tony Konopka had little to say about the issue, but believes the reasons for pursuing the project need to be more closely examined.

Green Park should not annex merely for the purpose of annexing, and the city needs to identify a legitimate gain to pursuing the process, he said.

“When you’re talking about annexation, we need to do a cost-benefit analysis,” Konopka said. “What’s the area you’re looking at as far as annexation? What’s the benefit? What’s the cost?”

Pousosa also suggested Green Park consider obtaining charter-city status similar to the municipalities of Crestwood, O’Fallon, Kirkwood and Webster Groves. Such status would call for the city to draft a charter and eventually would allow more home rule for Green Park.

“We would have a better say in what happens in the city of Green Park,” Pousosa said. “Right now, we’re a fourth-class city that has a certain number of regulations that we’re allowed to implement according to the Missouri state law. It’s kind of limiting in some regards.”

Green Park would gain more control over its own issues if the city was granted charter status, according to Pousosa.

“A lot of the things we do, we do in conjunction with St. Louis County,” he said “Sometimes the system works, and sometimes it doesn’t. It just depends what the situation is. We’ve had several situations, in my ward even, that have gone on for two years before they were fully resolved.”

Pousosa’s goal is for residents to see results in their community. He believes charter status would allow for more immediate improvements.

“It’s just difficult for me, as a representation of the people that elected me, to tell them continually that we’re doing everything we can,” he said. “I know in their eyes it may not look like it, and that’s hard for me because I want people to see results. When I’m relying on another entity to get those results, that’s not a good position. Then the residents don’t really believe you, and that can be an issue.”

Green Park has progressed significantly in the past 10 years, he said. Pousosa cited improvements along Lindbergh Boulevard, including the new Lion’s Choice and the future Golden Corral and QuikTrip. He be-lieves these kinds of improvements illustrate Green Park may be ready to expand.

“In a time when everyone else is in economic slow down, we’re continuing forward with projects to develop and kind of make the area look nice,” he said “That’s important for any community.”

Every five years, the Boundary Commission has a period where it accepts proposals from cities for boundary adjustments or annexations. Rost said it is typical for aldermen to review annexations near the proposal period.

“I think what Alderman Pousosa was doing was remembering that we hadn’t looked at that in awhile, but the next cycle isn’t in 2010, it’s 2012,” Rost said. “So just as a common practice we look at that to see if there’s any reason (to pursue annexation).”

Currently, Green Park does not have enough residents to become a charter city.

Pousosa said if the city pursues annexation, Green Park may be able to obtain enough residents to become eligible, depending on the areas annexed.

“If you’ve reached that goal, then it’s something to look into,” Pousosa said. “I know it’s a lot of work, a lot of research. It takes time, several years, but I know the next window is 2012.

“If this is something that we want to start to look at then we can start looking at it. It’s nothing that I want to force on anyone. It’s about representation.”