‘Many are clueless’ on consequences regarding city-county merger

Letters+to+the+editor

Letter to the Editor

To the editor:
When it comes to the reunification, merger, consolidation or whatever you want to call it of the city of St. Louis with St. Louis County, many are clueless as to what this really means to county taxpayers.
I have been trying to educate the community with facts regarding this reunification for the last 15 years. The Missouri Constitution already dictates what would happen to county residents should reunification occur. Article VI, Section 30 clearly states: “The people of the city of St. Louis and the people of the county of St. Louis shall have power … to consolidate the territories and governments of the city and county into one political subdivision under the municipal government of the city of St. Louis …”
Yes, that’s right. The city of St. Louis government would be the government running the newly formed city of St. Louis.
Pro-merger people like to use the Louisville-Jefferson County and Indianapolis-Marion County mergers as shining examples of merger success. Louisville merged in 2003, and Indianapolis in 1970. Neither merger promised to save taxpayers money.
They hoped to promote economic growth and improve the city’s image. Sound familiar? Louisville and Jefferson County before the merger had combined expenditures of $552.4 million.
After the merger, the combined government had expenditures of $549.8 million — a decrease of less than one-half of 1 percent. Taxpayers in that area saw zero tax-dollar savings and no improvement of combined services.
The Indianapolis-Marion County merger is in its 47th year.
The UniGov is facing financial crisis and is now pushing a second merger consolidating all government functions into one— fire, police and school district and government departments — as well as eliminating all townships and municipalities.
Instead of eliminating duplicate jobs in these merged areas, like businesses do when they merge to remain financially viable, departments stayed the same or grew larger. They also raised wage rates of lower-paid departments to the higher paid counterpart.
This is one of the many impediments that prevent mergers from being beneficial for taxpayers. The unigovs do not know how to do more with less. Another side effect is that the surrounding counties around these merged areas saw their populations grow anywhere from 25 percent to 30 percent. The reasons for exodus being crime, higher taxes and reduced or poor government services.
How many county residents can take the morning or afternoon off work to drive down to the corner of Market and Tucker to express their concerns to the elected leadership in three minutes or less? Until the city of St. Louis fixes all of its problems, those problems will become the county’s and it will come with a hefty price tag attached. Bigger is not better.
Anthony Pousosa
Green Park

Editor’s note: Anthony Pousosa serves as the Concord Township Republican committeeman and is a former Green Park Ward 1 alderman.