Unfortunately, we in St. Louis city and county remain separated by our state constitution. Various constitutional amendments, the “new” constitution of 1945, and general laws governing municipalities that the Legislature has enacted since the 1876 “divorce,” would make the constitution’s provisions for rearranging local governments outdated and lame for addressing St. Louis’ complicated mess.
Changing the constitution is the only means to achieve comprehensive reform that will meet the needs of a 21st century city and its citizens.
Under the recently released Better Together plan, the Missouri Constitution would be amended to establish a unified “metropolitan city” consisting of the area of St. Louis County and the city of St. Louis. The government of the metropolitan city would consist of a mayor and council members elected from 33 local districts in the city-county territory. Existing municipalities, including the city of St. Louis, would become “municipal districts” with local governing boards that will continue to provide basic services, such as parks and recreation, trash collection and fire protection, along with exercise local review of planning and zoning matters.