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Economy

City, Meet County: St. Louis Weighs Historic Merger

A measure to consolidate St. Louis City and County could go before Missouri voters as soon as 2020. But St. Louisans are mixed on what that means.
St. Louis City and County could merge by a vote on a statewide ballot.
St. Louis City and County could merge by a vote on a statewide ballot.Jeff Roberson/AP

On Monday, the St. Louis think tank Better Together unveiled a formal proposal to combine the City of St. Louis and St. Louis County in a new type of local government for Missouri: a metropolitan city. Governed by an elected “Metro Mayor” and a 33‑member council, the new Metro City of St. Louis would have sweeping powers to enact new laws, tax residents, and oversee law enforcement, justice, planning, zoning, and economic development. This proposal, which would be decided by voters across Missouri, would essentially do away with the present government of the City of St. Louis, including the city’s 29-member Board of Aldermen and the office of Mayor Lyda Krewson.

Such a consolidation would overnight transform St. Louis into the 10th largest city in the U.S., with 1.3 million people—larger than San Jose and right behind Dallas.