ST. LOUIS (KMOV.com) – Monday, the group 'Better Together’ revealed their plan to merge St. Louis City and County.
The group has been studying a possible merger since 2013.
The group’s plan calls for one mayor instead of a city mayor and county executive. Voters would elect a 33-member Metro Council, whose members would represent districts that would be approved by the St. Louis County Council and St. Louis Board of Alderman.
The group "Better Together” plans to officially unveil the specifics later in January but sources familiar with the plan are confirming some specifics to News 4.
In addition, police departments would be consolidated and there would be one accredited department that would be held accountable, with oversight, by all of the Metro City's citizens while providing best-practice level of community policing.
In addition, the City of St. Louis' Fire Department would become a fire protection district and all other fire services would continue as they currently do.
According to 'Better Together', the merger would make St. Louis the ninth most populated city in the United States.
The group recommends the constitutional amendment be put to a vote in 2020. If that vote passes, a two-year transition period will begin on January 1, 2021, and the first election for the new Metro City mayor would take place in November 2022.
One of the biggest push backs of the plan is that there would need to be a statewide vote, meaning voters in Kansas City, Rolla and Springfield could decide the fate of the St. Louis region.
Recently, area mayors formed their own group, with their own plan, in opposition to Monday’s unveiling.
As mentioned above, St. Louis County local police departments will consolidate into one metro-police department. Many of those departments are not on board with the idea.
News Four spoke with the St. Ann Police Department who says it takes pride in it's community policing efforts and is afraid if smaller departments like theirs are consolidated into one big one, that familiarity with residents would be lost.
Ellisville Police Chief Steve Lewis echoed that sentiment when News Four spoke to him Monday.
Chesterfield Mayor Bob Nation is also a critic of Better Together's merger plan.
He calls it, "Ridiculous. Short sighted, irresponsible, and an insult to taxpayers of the region."
Click here to view an overview of the plan.