To the editor:
The Better Together studies find that the region “overpays” $750 million for local government services. But what is an “overpayment,” and who defines it?
If my neighbor purchases turkey at the deli at Costco, and I choose to buy turkey at Dierbergs, are we creating an “overpayment” by exercising our freedom of choice?
We choose the store and the items we prefer and decide how much we spend. Should we be forced to pool our resources to buy deli turkey together, perhaps compromising on the store and quality of the product to accommodate our joint budget?
Pooling resources to share the cost of services is not a bad thing when citizens drive the decision and the process.
The Better Together plan decides for us what services cost too much and should be shared without giving St. Louis County and St. Louis city residents the opportunity to decide what services are being “overpaid” and how we could address that together.
If the Better Together proponents want support from citizens of both the city and county, they should do more to allow us to decide how our resources are combined to make us “better together.”
Editor’s note: This letter was submitted before Better Together withdrew its current petition for a city-county merger May 6.