Why I’m opposed to a City-County merger

I am unfortunately unable to attend the Mar. 24 Board of Aldermen meeting due to an out-of-town work obligation. Because I will not be present for the vote on the resolution regarding the unification of St. Louis City and County, I’m noting for the record that I would’ve voted “Aye” in the resolution. I’ve also submitted the following statement for the record regarding my opposition to the merger:

As the resolution states, the City of Ballwin is financially strong, well-managed, and nationally regarded as one of America’s best and safest cities. I am proud to be living and raising my children in Ballwin, and even prouder to represent the residents of Ward 2 on the Board of Aldermen. However, I by no means have a narrow view of what makes the St. Louis region such a great place. I’ve always appreciated that one of the best things about living in St. Louis is our diverse mosaic of municipalities, school districts, and cultures. I had a great time growing up in Northwoods, a small city in North St. Louis County with very different demographics than Ballwin, and attended elementary school in both the Normandy and St. Louis public schools. My civic and philanthropic involvement have spanned the entire region, not just West St. Louis County.

I believe that a city-county unification would eliminate much of what makes St. Louis unique and create a larger, more burdensome county government. I am open to being persuaded otherwise, but what I’ve heard so far sounds like a promise that “if you like your municipality, you can keep it,” of which I’m skeptical. I could never support any initiative whose effect would be to raise taxes or jeopardize the services provided by Ballwin, other municipalities, or our school districts. I look forward to continuing to work towards the betterment of Ballwin and the St. Louis region.