Major changes coming to St. Louis city government with reduction of aldermen

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by Russell Kinsaul / News 4 and KMOV.com staff

KMOV.com

Posted on November 7, 2012 at 12:04 PM

Updated Thursday, Nov 8 at 5:48 AM

ST. LOUIS (KMOV) -- After being shot down numerous times in the past, St. Louis voters approved a plan on Tuesday to reduce the number of wards and aldermen from 28 to 14.

The city’s population has fallen by 130,000 residents over the last three decades, but the number of aldermen has stayed the same. Proponents say it will make local government more efficient and will cut costs.

Ward 4 Alderwoman Phyllis Young, who sponsored the measure, says fewer elected problem solvers are needed now that the city has neighborhood stabilization officers and the Citizen Service Bureau.

“It only makes sense to cut the number of aldermen so that you can have more resources that can be used in a particular ward,” she said

Residents also want to know if a reduction in aldermen will make them less accessible to their constituents.

“I think one of the things people like about the current system is that the aldermen is the most accessible elected individual in our current form of government," said Alderman Antonio French. "That might change when we have twice as many constituents.”

But Young says it's a different time, and not so many Aldermen are needed.

"It has declined in the number of people who want direct access to an alderman because people know they can use different forms of technology to put their complaints in and follow up on the complaints,” she said.

The changes won’t take effect until after the 2020 census when the district lines are scheduled to be redrawn.

The 2013 election will be the first vote for just 14 aldermen.

 

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