Municipalities will keep their specific taxes if those are dedicated to pay off debt, according to the Better Together proposal. Cities would also still have the power to levy their own property taxes, but sales tax would be collected by the new unified government.
City leaders have criticized the Better Together proposal for taking away certain powers from local governments. The proposal would dissolve municipal courts and police departments and merge them into the new metro government. Cities would retain the power to manage parks and recreation, trash services and other general administrative functions. School and fire districts would not be affected.
Municipal leaders voted unanimously to start the process of creating a Board of Freeholders to look into other proposals that would require a city-county vote instead of a statewide vote.
“If this is the thing we want to do, then we should be the ones choosing it,” Keathley said. “People all over the state of Missouri shouldn’t be picking the government for someone else.”
Better Together leaders have said a statewide vote is necessary to amend the Missouri constitution to create the merger. Better Together wants the statewide proposal on the November 2020 ballot.