In our next phase, Better Together will seek to identify and report on governmental reforms that can improve the cost and effectiveness of St. Louis’ municipal services. To that end, Better Together is forming a task force which will lead this next phase and ultimately issue reports and recommendations to the community. Leading the task force will be:
Dr. Will Ross
Associate Dean for Diversity, Professor of Medicine at Washington University School of Medicine
How should St. Louis government be organized?
The Task Force and Better Together staff will endeavor to issue reports and recommendations on ideal governmental structures for St. Louis. To accomplish that, they will work with other community organizations and the general public. “We want to give St. Louis residents the opportunity to choose an ideal governmental structure—one that will provide high quality services in a cost-effective manner,” said task-force member Suzanne Sitherwood. Another member, Dr. Will Ross agreed, “we aspire to create a region steeped in racial, social, and economic equity where everyone can achieve their full potential. We hope to recommend a structure that allows the St. Louis region to provide opportunities for all our citizens while celebrating the uniqueness that has made St. Louis a wonderful place to call home.”
Mayor Krewson and County Executive Stenger endorse effort
Mayor Lyda Krewson and County Executive Steve Stenger attended Better Together’s press conference and showed support for this effort.
“Over the last two years I’ve seen the limitations that our current structure places on us. It frequently prevents us from changing and adapting to the times we live in. Businesses struggle with our fragmentation,” said County Executive Stenger. “In order for us to reach our true potential, we must make some changes. I’ve heard many solutions talked about, and without a formal presentation of options and without a deep dive and a thorough analysis we will not know which path forward is the correct one. But I know it’s time for us to look hard at the alternatives, to perform the necessary analysis, and choose a path forward with respect to these issues.”
Mayor Krewson agreed. “I recognize that the city is going to have to change in order to thrive. I said that many times during my campaign and these first several weeks in office have affirmed that opinion. I’m grateful to Better Together and the task force for taking this on and I look forward to their findings.”
Stenger and Krewson pledged to work with the Task Force as needed. “The time for this effort is now,” said Stenger.
St. Louis City-County Governance Task Force
Town Hall Discussion – After Action Report (April 12, 2018)
Throughout October and November 2017, Better Together hosted a series of town hall discussions on behalf of the St. Louis City-County Governance Task Force. These discussions were designed to provide the five-person task force with community feedback regarding the possible reorganization of municipal services within the City of Saint Louis and Saint Louis County. Utilizing the public’s feedback, along with fact-driven research assembled by Better Together, the task force is developing recommendations to improve the cost and quality of municipal services in the St. Louis region.
Summarized in the report is feedback from the initial five citizen forums, in which 270 residents attended the events. An additional 800 residents responded to the same questions via an online survey.
Town hall attendees and online survey respondents noted the following throughout this first phase of outreach:
- Eight of 10 (82%) think it is likely or very likely that fragmentation impacts regional economic growth.
- Eight of 10 (84%) think it is likely or very likely that fragmentation impacts the financial stability and sustainability of some municipalities.
- Eight of 10 (80%) think if all municipalities are stronger, benefits accrue to their own municipality.
- Nearly 9 of 10 (88%) think it is important or very important for all residents to receive consistent service quality and professionalism.
- When asked which public services should be considered for possible reorganization, the number one response was policing.
- Nearly one of four (24%) felt all services should be considered for possible reorganization
- Only four percent of respondents felt no services should be assessed or evaluated for possible reorganization.