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Why say No to Better Together Amendment in Nov 2020
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Official Stop the Merger Page

Team Report 4/8/19 The 3 Professors Analysis of Better Together's Financials of their Amendment

BT Financials are a FANTASY Professors say

Better Together Overestimated Merger's Financial Benefits

North County Stop Merger Facebook Page

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Stop the City/County Facebook Page

Some Research

March 25 2019 Why our answer is NO flyer

PDF of 3rd Version March 25 Better Together Amendment

Dr. Terry Jones Analysis of Better Together Plan

Mo Auditor's Report

Study shows BT left out 589 Million Dollars out of Indy Analysis by Professor Terry Jones UMSL

Indianapolis PoliceStudy done by Government proves NO Savings

Indianapolis Louisville Merger Info Main

Indianapolis Louisville Merger Info 1

Indianapolis Louisville Merger Info 2

Indianapolis Louisville Merger Info 4

Why our answer to the Better Together Constitutional Amendment Proposal is “NO”!

To whom it may concern:

I ask that you vote No, on a Constitutional Amendment for November 2020, proposed by Better Together (a non-profit group, sponsored by Billionaire Rex Sinquefield, whose members for the most part, are not from the St Louis Area). As I understand it….and,

Taking out the emotional factors of this proposal, i.e.; said fragmentation being the cause of St Louis City’s failed Economic Development, it’s Crime/Murder rate, it’s failing Infrastructure, the fact that 40% of their land is not taxable cause its tied to nontaxable entities like hospitals, colleges, government buildings, charities, shelters, schools. Their continuous dropping Bond Ratings. The fact that their leadership has given away much of their remaining tax opportunities through TIF’s (the City of St Louis has just over 150 Tiff’s within its boundaries). The Cities inability to pick up trash consistently and policies of putting leaves in the streets that led to cars catching fire.

The fact that our County Executive is under a Federal Microscope.

Let’s look at the proposal for what it says/means itself.

The proposal eliminates the entire Article 6, Sections 30-32, and replaces it. Which means the method devised by our ancestors - the Board of Freeholders, (which is meant to solve/merge these types of issues) will be eliminated from the Mo. Constitution and could never be used again.

The document states that the Metro City’s 1st Mayor will be the individual that was in the St Louis County Executive position on January 1st, 2021. i.e.: still Stenger.

The Metro City style of government relies heavily on the Mayor having all the executive and administrative powers. The Mayor gets to appoint: The Metro City Lawyer, and 4 Deputy Mayors that will never be elected into office.

Let’s talk about this St Louis Municipal District. This district is made up of the old entire City of St Louis. It is governed by a new 5-person board that is again Unelected but Appointed by the Transition Mayor i.e. Krewson. With ANY of its successors being Not Elected but Appointed there after by the Metro Mayor i.e.: Stenger.

These 5 people will hold office until the Metro Mayor decides to replace them.

Now the Metro Council represents 33 “Municipal Districts” these districts are made up of St Louis County Unincorporated and the 88 Municipalities. Stenger and Krewson get to pick which College/Colleges will decide the borders of these Municipal Districts. These borders should respect municipal boundaries “when practicable.” However, this is harder to do than one would think.

In the Amendments genius use of language it guarantees that the Charter created by (Stenger and Krewson) goes into effect unless it is rejected by a 2/3 vote of the 33-person Council. 2/3rd’s in nearly impossible to attain.

Once these districts are designed, the Council member has the authority to merge the municipalities within his/her district, “as their financial obligations diminish”.

Better Together touted that the municipalities would get to stay and run Parks, Admin and Planning and Zoning. However, the 33-person council gets final say over Zoning Matters-which means if they want to build a 12-story building right next to your home, they could override us and do just that and in many areas throughout the Amendment, it states “until the Metro City can provide”. This indicates that once the Metro City is capable of providing these services, the District Councilmember will merge all the municipalities within, thus eliminating them.

The “Metro City Government” will be located within the borders of the old City of St Louis. Bringing new employees to the Earnings Tax pool.

The 1% Earnings Tax will be used to pay off the City of St Louis’s, $2+ Billion debts. It is to be eliminated over a 10-year period, and new employees to the Metro City will get an end of year tax credit. With the City of St Louis having a 1.115 Billion-dollar operating budget, where will the money come from to run the day to day services of the City? The amendment allows for the Metro City to pay for the Services of the St Louis Municipal District, which means you and I will be paying for St Louis City Services, as they are confiscating Municipal Sales Taxes.

In order to make this work the Amendment CONFISCATES the Sales Taxes etc. of the County and its Municipalities and leaves the Municipalities with ONLY its Property Taxes and Utility taxes to Pay for its Parks and Administration duties as well as any remaining financial obligations, including Pensions for its remaining employees as well as the employees that the Metro City Confiscated to become their employees or terminated because they did not need them.

Pension issues present several questions ALL their own.

If the above is not enough, let’s look at another objective of the Amendment.

 

The Amendment Terminates all Municipal Police Departments and merges them into One Metro City Police Department. It ensures that NONE of the Municipal Chiefs or Assistant Chiefs has an opportunity to be a leader in the new Metro City Police Department and again determines that the Metro City Mayor Stenger gets to choose the Chief of Police.

Interestingly enough in the Amendments 2nd Version it deems that the old City of St Louis’s Collective Bargaining Agreements become that of the new Metro City, this indeed opens many questions……

The Amendment CONFISCATES all Muni Equipment, Buildings, Employees, Trucks, Cars, etc. leaving us with only our Parks Facilities/Equipment and Employees.

In the 70’s and 80’s Municipalities typically incorporated because they were not happy with the level of services offered by St Louis County. This is especially true of Police Services and Street Department Services, both of which the Amendment is Confiscating from the Municipalities Authority.

Not to deter from the valued services of St Louis County’s Employees but there is a point when departments get too big and cannot equally service all.

Most municipalities can supply their communities with “Community Policing-(officers know most of us and our needs)”, 2-minute service times, Dare Programs, SRO’s, Neighborhood Watch Programs, officers at all community events, etc., etc.

 The average service times prior to incorporation were 10-20 minutes. This was felt to be too long by those who incorporated and most of us today.

Our street departments perform various duties-yard waste, tree trimming, street cleaning, sidewalk repairs, grass cutting, Street Repairs.

     How efficiently will all of these services be done, we can already see how “efficiently” the City of St Louis and the County have taken care of these…

But most importantly during the Winter Months Plow our Residential streets.

     St Louis City does NOT plow their residential streets, which leaves their residents unable to get off their streets to even go to work in a large snowfall, till it melts.

 So, one has to ask, “How does an Ambulance, Firetruck or Officer get to these residents in an Emergency?”

The governing structure of this amendment will virtually eliminate 30%+ of the Minority Leadership in St Louis City and County, setting back advances that took decades to reach in this area.

Presumably one of the reasons for this Amendment is to create Equity for all areas of St. Louis. Yet we need only to look to the very examples they shove at us: Louisville, Indianapolis, Nashville to see that equity for all has not been accomplished. In BT’s meeting on 3/20/19, Marius Johnson verified that Municipal Districts would be able to levy additional taxes to get better services- (inclusive of police and streets) so what about that Equity for all Claim???

The new Metro City promised jobs to all current St Louis City and St Louis County Employees. Yet we see on page 6 that divisions, departments, boards, commissions etc. will be cut…

They state we will save 50% of our Property Taxes yet this is only the “General St Louis County PPT” so a home worth $100,000 would approximately have a savings of only $58.00.

Their financials were based on 2017 numbers, but legislation handed down after that year has affected budgets, and they failed to account for that in their numbers in totality.

Most Importantly!

Our most basic rights as citizens of these United States of America are to vote in Elections for public officials. This amendment puts city residents in the position of being governed by a County leader they did not Elect and County residents in the position of being governed by a City leader they did not Elect and won’t get to Elect until November 2022. It Effectively Cancels the Mayors Election in the City of St Louis which was due to be held in April of 2021. And this Amendment further waters down our voices by allowing the entire state of Missouri to vote in it – there by giving the entire state of Missouri authority over how we are governed and the rules by which we must live by.

Yet we do not get to Do that for them? Or will we?

     In a public discussion someone explained to me why they thought they should be allowed to vote on this decision. They are against the Amendment but live outside of the St Louis Boundaries and work within them. Though we would love to have that support the truth simply put is:

  • “It is not their tax base, i.e. (sales, personal property, utilities etc.) being directly affected.

  • It will not be their Street Crews and the jobs they do for us, especially when it comes to snow removal that they will be losing. Or HIGH GRASS due to lack of enforcement as the Codes are now serviced by the new Metro City.

  • It will not be their Police Departments that are being confiscated from them. Thus, they will not be losing additional police protections that we enjoy every day and pay extra for happily, to keep us from becoming victims of crimes before the crime happens versus after.

  • They will not have to suffer through increased crime as a result of losing say 5 officers on the roads 24/7 that are replaced by 1 officer on the road 24/7 because the population statistics dictate that is all that’s needed.

  • It won’t be them that has to live under a Government that they were NOT ALLOWED TO ELECT.

  • It will not be them struggling to provide the standard of Park services we are used to due to the confiscation of our Sales Tax dollars and having to pay the Pensions of current, past and Metro City employees out of the Property Taxes and Utility Taxes we are left with.

     (but of course, this is meant to work towards our elimination as a city to begin with).

  • It will not be them that has to live under a Charter that cannot be changed except by a 2/3 majority Vote which is near impossible to attain.

    Read the Amendment, it takes away our most basic Citizen Rights

    This vote should be determined by Only the citizens of

                                                            St Louis City and St Louis County.

    Let’s let the Board of Freeholders work

                         as it is designed to work, in this situation.

    Do not take away our Rights as American Citizens….

    Please Vote No on this Amendment in November 2020.

    Thank you,

Sincerely, 

Please feel free to contact me if you have questions.

 See http://www.stopmerger.org/        to stay up to date on this.

            http://www.facebook.com/nocitycountymerger

Video of Analysis for those who prefer video

St Ann was 7th quite an accomplishment in Safest Cities

St Louis City has over 150 Tifs, video above

https://fox2now.com/2019/01/23/millions-of-additional-dollars-could-be-coming-to-st-louis-general-fund/

This map says it all. St. Louis City has a crime problem, not a fragmentation problem. The BT narrative says that that by unifying the Police Departments they can allocate resources where crime is happening. Well the City PD could do that now! Why aren't they? The St. Louis County PD could do that now! Why aren't they? Meanwhile those of us who pay extra for our police will lose protection while its redistributed to high crime areas...

Definitely more information is revealed by listening to the interview in its entirety. However the fact remains from what you read here Better Together states that government refused to act. Yet BT never brought the municipal government into the conversation. And They wont allow just a city county vote because they would lose that vote and they know it.

Leipholtz admits Metro structured to allow assumption of citys debt Pelopidas LLC Better Together staff member David Leipholtz acknowledges in a PostDispatch podcast that the proposed Metro government would have the option to assume the City of St. Louis debt

Indianapolis PoliceStudy done by Government proves NO Savings

Link to Better Together 162 page proposal and Amendment.

1. What is the Goal/Plan of Better Together?

To create a new form of Government, not currently in the Mo Constitution called a Metro City.
From this we know that most authority of your current local governments will be confiscated from us and be under the authority of the Metro City. Effective two months after passage (January 2021) all cities in St. Louis County become Municipal Districts. These Districts continue to provide current services UNTIL the METRO decides to take over most services. Municipal Districts will ultimately have control over Parks and Trash, Limited Planning and Zoning Review and General Government Services. They can offer any service NOT being taken over by the METRO. Possibly forestry, senior programs, etc. As subdivision of the METRO, the METRO can DISOLVE any Municipal District at ANY time.

2. Who is better together?

BT is a nonprofit group advocacy group whose board members are made of St. Louis business, political elites with the goal of merging the City and County of St Louis, Mo.there is a list of sponsors on their site, this list had gone missing for some time from their website. It is comprised of many huge corporations, the St Louis Cardinals, Realestate, Utilities, Banks, Building and Construction trades and Rex Sinquefield. See their website for a complete list.

3. Would the BT Plan effect larger cities like Overland and St Ann.
Yes-ultimately, they will be eliminated and replaced with what will be called Municipal Districts of the same name I.E. The Municipal District of St. Ann or Overland which will be subdivisions of the METRO Government that will be authorized to offer limited municipal services, The METRO Government will be governed by a Strong Mayor form of government The Legislative Branch of METRO Government will consist of 33 Council Districts comprised of about 39,000 residents and represented by 1 Council member which for the 1st 2 years while the Charter is designed by Stenger and Krewson, these Council members will be handpicked by Stenger. It will only take a yes vote by 1/3 of this handpicked council to accept the Metro City Charter. After the charter is accepted it will take a 2/3 vote of the council to change it. You and I will never get to vote on it.

4. Would our police remain
No, all of the municipal police departments will be dissolved, and one force created. Stenger gets to pick the Chief and the amendment states basically that the muni police who are transferred to the METRO are not guaranteed continued employment.

5. Would our street dept remain
No, the street departments will be combined into one metro city street dept. which leads us to questions like: how often will our streets be cleaned? In a snow storm how long will it take to get to residential streets, or will they be done at all? We know the city of st louis does not plow residential streets. What about pot holes? There are many residential streets and county streets, city as well that need renovation and maintenance. What will the schedule look like for that? What about sidewalks? In 2016 St Louis County was replacing sidewalks and repairing them with Asphalt, even though their own code stated Concrete sidewalks are required.

6. Would planning and zoning remain
The Municipal Districts that replace Cities like St. Ann and Overland will have very limited P&Z review powers. The Board of Aldermen of these Municipal Districts essentially become the Zoning Commission that RECOMENDS to the METRO. The METRO has the deciding authority. I.E. if somebody wanted to put a 300 unit low\mod income housing project in the middle of single-family neighborhood, the Municipal District could recommend against it, but the METRO could still OK. BT has made reference to instating Inclusive Zoning within the METRO.

7. Would court system remain
No it would all go to one main court system

8. What would happen to employees/properties citizens have paid for?
Property associated with functions that the METRO takes over (Police, street department etc. becomes the property of the Metro City to do with what it wants

9. What would happen to pensions and insurance etc.
They say everyone will keep what they have.at least until the Metro City can provide for. This is one of the biggest concerns.

10. What is the BT Timeline see timeline
11. What will governance look like see timeline

12. Who would be the Mayor--- the Amendment states that the person in the St Louis County Executive position on 1/1/2019 will be the Mayor. Until 1/1/2025. Stenger.

13. Who would replace Stenger if something happened to him?
During transition-Krewson
After transition President of the Metro Council which you and I do not get to Elect. Special elections are prohibited unless both stenger and Krewson are dead.

Indianapolis Louisville Merger Info Main

Indianapolis Louisville Merger Info 1

Indianapolis Louisville Merger Info 2

Indianapolis Louisville Merger Info 4

CitiesStrong

Better Together tells you the municipalities fight each other for Economic Development and never work together.
Here “The Crossings at Northwest” is a huge example of just how wrong they are.
To get this done St Ann, Pattonville, Bridgeton, West Overland Fire all had to work together to make this happen.

Take a look in person, but if you don’t have time this video covers it well enough.

Thank you Elliott Davis FOX 2
For staying on top of Taxpayer dollars being spent.
We ask that out state Missouri Vote No on the St Louis City County Merger in November 2020, please.

EMAIL Amy click here

Municipal Links to their Website and Services

CITY WEBSITE

ST ANN PUBLIC RECORDS REQUEST FORM

The Constitution Center - Constitution Page

 Zoo Member, American Disabled Veterans, USO, WW1 Memorial Fund, NRA Life Member, MUNY, KCU, St Ann Alderman, MDA, USAV, AAU V, Operation Graduation, Pride & Promise Contributor, SAPA, SABA, Ran as a Candidate for St Louis County Council-got 41% of vote. RLAC & Ritenour Parent Advocacy Committee

Paid for by Amy Poelker to Elect Amy Poelker.

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