Government in St. Louis region needs to be completely remade
St. Louis City Alderman Scott Ogilvie announced last week he will not seek re-election in April, lamenting dysfunction in City government.
In a guest column in the Post-Dispatch this week, Alderman Ogilvie turned his attention toward the underlying issue with government in the St. Louis region: fragmentation.
- “I also want to point to what needs to be changed about government in the St. Louis region: Everything.”
- “Everything. Government in the region needs to be completely remade from the ground up.”
- “It does not work in St. Louis city; it does not work in the poorer areas of St. Louis County.”
“Perhaps we got here by accident. But with decades of perspective on this dynamic, we all know it’s the central problem in the St. Louis region. It’s time to do something about it.”
- “We need to erase all the artificial boundaries of city, county and municipalities.”
- “The only way this region will ever work is if we are governed as one region.”
“Tinkering around the edges is metaphorically the same as rearranging the chairs on the Titanic. People are literally dying because of the way this region’s government is structured.”
“We should become the St. Louis of 1.3 million people we want to be.”
What could our region be without its current structural barriers? Hear Alderman Ogilvie share his thoughts, in-person, for free at our Reimagining St. Louis event on October 30th.
🔥Heated debate between City of Hazelwood, Robertson Fire Protection Service
Tempers flared at the Hazelwood City Council meeting Wednesday night when Mayor Matthew Robinson and Robertson Fire Protection District Chief Don Miner “yelled at each other across the room with each accusing the other of not negotiating a new agreement between the city and the district.”
Why this matters…The foundation of this exchange is fragmented service delivery to Hazelwood residents – varying and increasing tax rates to pay for multiple service providers.
- “As a result, the city has had to increase its property tax rate from 31 cents to 99 cents”
- “The City of Hazelwood has also implemented four additional sales tax increases to pay for services”
- “If we don’t reach a resolution to this, in three years we will literally be bankrupt”
🚧Awful road conditions a years-long problem in Breckenridge Hills
“Isolda Avenue in Breckenridge Hills is a mess with potholes, causing a lot of misery for motorists.”
- “Traffic often grinds to a halt because of drivers scared of damaging their vehicles.”
“Breckenridge Hills City Hall said it would cost some $300,000 to fix the problem and the mayor said the city doesn’t have the money.”
Be in the know… Fragmentation serves as a structural impediment to community reinvestment in parts of our region.
- The small size and lack of expertise in some municipalities combined with declining and stagnant property tax revenue leaves many communities unable to access capital debt markets.
Why this matters… Better Together’s public finance reportshowed cities in St. Louis County that are locked out of debt capital markets results in an inability to adequately fund necessary infrastructure improvements in communities that most need investment.
- This reality, borne out of fragmentation, puts these communities at a further competitive disadvantage in the ongoing internal competition present in the St. Louis region and leaves them without a mechanism for revitalization.
Have a great weekend and RSVP for Reimagining St. Louis on October 30th.