St. Louis County sees dwindling number of municipalities
ST. LOUIS (AP) — St. Louis County is seeing its number of municipalities drop after a village dissolved in April and several are poised to fold in the near future.
The number of St. Louis County municipalities fell to 88 when Mackenzie residents decided to discorporate nearly three months ago, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported. The village of about 132 people voted to dissolve because no one wanted to take over running the town, where the median age of trustees was 82.
The village, which incorporated in 1946, added its dozen acres to unincorporated St. Louis County in April. Mackenzie is among more than 50 municipalities in St. Louis County that formed between 1945 and 1952, according to the book "Fragmented by Design: Why St. Louis Has So Many Governments."
The county peaked at 98 municipalities in 1959, according to the book published in 2000.
"Suburban municipalities see themselves as different from central cities like St. Louis where conflict prevails, parties compete, and patronage persists," wrote author E. Terrence Jones, a political science professor at the University of Missouri-St. Louis. "Government is more about delivering public services efficiently than it is about resolving disputes amicably."
Hanley Hills could be the next municipality to disband. Residents will vote Aug. 7 on disincorporation.
"There are always rumblings about communities having these conversations," said Dave Leipholtz, director of community-based studies at Better Together, a nonprofit working to consolidate governmental services in the St. Louis-area.
Municipalities are dealing with declines in sales tax revenue and looking to save money through combining services, he said.
Vinita Terrace dissolved in 2016 and merged into neighboring Vinita Park two years ago. Normandy Mayor Patrick Green said residents have been discussing for a year whether to merge with Glen Echo Park. It's unclear when the municipality may put the issue to a vote.
Information from: St. Louis Post-Dispatch, http://www.stltoday.com