Notes on My Better Together JeffCo Proposal, Which Has Nothing To Do With STL

23 Mar

A few days ago I published a proposal, created by me for purposes of debate and discussion, to combine various JeffCo government entities and services to improve efficiency, reduce costs, and improve the pool of elected leaders. This proposal was in the model of, but unrelated to, the Better Together STL movement. However, it became clear from the comments on Facebook (on my page and the pages of those who shared my article) that some people didn’t read beyond the headline and Facebook blurb. Most of the commenters spoke for or against the Better Together STL proposal itself, or seemed to think I was trying to include JeffCo in that proposal. But that is not the case. If you were one of those people, and you have made it this far, I encourage you to read and comment on my proposal.

That being said, here are some notes on my proposal.

  • While the STL proposal is headed for the 2020 ballot, my proposal is merely something I dreamed up. It has little chance of being enacted. I only hoped to spur debate and perhaps plant some seeds of change. I will note that my post was shared on Facebook by two county councilmen, so maybe there is a small chance some of my ideas could come into effect someday. The STL plan has advanced this far in part because it has wealthy benefactor Rex Sinquefield to provide funding to promote it; perhaps some rich donor would like to fund my JeffCo plan?
  • The STL plan is modeled on changes made in places like Louisville or Indianapolis where a large city was merged with its surrounding county and/or municipalities. All the haters of the BTSTL proposal don’t like the idea of STL City “taking over” the county and its revenue. My proposal is different in that there is no big city that is the focus. I am looking at merging small local entities with similar-sized neighbors. The only large entity that would come from this is a Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office that takes over policing in several small JeffCo cities.
  • The best ways, I think, for the average person to push Better Together JeffCo towards reality is, first, to vote against all tax increases. Tax hikes serve as a lifeline for small towns, small school districts, and other small entities, allowing them to continue to exist as is. By denying them revenue increases, they will be forced to be creative and look at alternatives like consolidation. I think Byrnes Mill could be the first domino to fall if residents there can hold the line against tax hikes. They have rejected tax hikes four times in the past two years, but unfortunately let one slip through last April. The next election is April 2, and there will be many tax increases on the ballot.
    • Second, make it known to your board representatives, council members, and state legislators that you want to see consolidations. Whenever mergers are proposed, the people with the most skin in the game, current employees and their spouses, show up to loudly argue against the idea, in order to save their jobs. Residents on the taxpayer side of the issue need to show up as well. Legislators may have to make some tweaks to state laws to enable some district mergers.
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One Response to “Notes on My Better Together JeffCo Proposal, Which Has Nothing To Do With STL”

  1. George Thompson March 24, 2019 at 12:00 pm #

    I oppose the unification of St. Louis City and County because I believe it is nothing more than an attempt by the failed City government to get its dirty paws on the cash of those who over the years have its “progressive” ways. My concern is that if a reunification occurs, Jefferson County will rapidly experience a flood of refugees fleeing St. Louis City-County. When I fled the City 30 years ago there were farms near where I chose to raise my family. Now those farms have become subdivisions and my commute has increased due to lots more traffic and traffic lights. The only silver lining I see is thanks to an expected surge in the appraised value of my house (which means more of my money spent on taxes) I should be able to sell my place for a wad of cash sufficient to move elsewhere. Kentucky is a right-to-work state, as long as I avoid Louisville, overtaxed since its merger with its own Jefferson County, I should do just fine.

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