ST. LOUIS (KMOV.com) - A plan to merge the City of St. Louis and St. Louis County could end up on voters' ballots in 2020.

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.

Those sources say the new plan calls for one mayor, instead of a city mayor and county executive. Municipal mayors would still exist but would lose much of their authority.

Municipal police departments would be consolidated, however, fire districts and school districts would remain the same. Sources also say under the merger plan proposed by Better Together, there would be one court system and one tax system.

Better Together is spearheaded by a small group of prominent business and community leaders in the region. They hope to get the constitutional amendment on the 2020 ballot as a statewide issue, meaning voters in Branson, Kansas City, and elsewhere in Missouri will help decide the future of the City of St. Louis, and St. Louis County.

Some local leaders say they are being left out of the planning process. The mayor of Ferguson points to the Ferguson Commission report.

"The very basic thing we should have learned is how we engage people, how we interact with our community, how we make them feel part of the process, not force it on them," said James Knowles III, Mayor of Ferguson.

In a statement from Better Together, a spokesperson said "Over the past 18 months the task force has hosted seven public forums, held hundreds of stakeholder meetings and received more than 1,200 online surveys in an effort to gather community input."

Changes to local policing is another contentious issue, as well as opening the vote to the entire state on the 2020 ballot.

"I don't think a decision needs to be made by people outside the St. Louis region. I think ultimately it's a St. Louis issue, it's a regional issue," said Knowles.

Pat Kelly, Executive Director of Municipal League of Metro St. Louis, agrees, saying he is opposed to a statewide vote on a local issue.

Better Together declined an on camera interview, saying the full report will be released later this month.

Copyright 2019 KMOV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved

News 4 Anchor/Reporter

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