ST. CHARLES COUNTY, Mo. — St. Charles County Executive Steve Ehlmann said he's open to the idea of merging the city of St. Louis and St. Louis County.

"I don't know if this is the answer," he said of Better Together's merger proposal, revealed Monday, "but I do know that what we're doing now is broken." The proposal would see the city and county combined under a new class of municipality, called a "Metro City," with the old governments wiped away.

He said although St. Charles County has long experienced growth, the region has not. Last year, it relinquished the title of 20th largest U.S. metropolitan area to Baltimore.

"Given the last five years, things may still look pretty good in St. Charles," Ehlmann said. "But in the long run if the region doesn't start moving, it's eventually going to affect everyone."

Monroe County Chairman Robert Elmore, another member of the East-West Gateway Council of Governments, had no reservations, saying Better Together's idea is "great."

"They need to do something to cut down the crime there," he said. "Maybe St. Louis can be revitalized."

"It's just going to keep going downhill unless you do something different," Elmore said.

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