ST. LOUIS COUNTY, Mo. — Ruth Springer has been studying the Better Together plan. She said it’s a plan she cannot support.
“I would prefer only the residents of the City of St. Louis and the County of St. Louis be able to vote on their governmental structure,” said Springer, who is a member of the Olivette City Council.
One of her biggest concerns about the proposed city-county merger is police services.
“That police officer I know by name, he won't be here anymore,” she said. “And that is the most egregious, for communities like mine to lose that asset.”
Ruth is one of the hundreds of volunteers around St. Louis County who will soon take a petition to voters. The petition would require the creation of a Board of Freeholders. The board would, with public input, come up with an alternative plan to improve the St. Louis region. The petition must have 15,000 signature from county voters and 5,000 signatures from city voters.
“In governmental terms, it is the ultimate in transparency,” Springer said.
Farther west, some are looking into whether the Chesterfield can secede from the county or join a different county. It’s been dubbed #chexit on social media.
“All I see is that the power is being wrested from the people in St. Louis County and being relocated to a partisan process in downtown St. Louis,” said Ben Keathley, Chesterfield City Council member. “It's not that we're considering Chesterfield County, but we want to know if it's even an option. Enough residents have come forward and they've asked me questions.”