Since the late 1800s, the story of St. Louis has been one of division. In 1876, the City of St. Louis split away from the County. This separation, known as the “Great Divorce,” seriously impacted the way the region views itself. In subsequent years, people have considered reunification, with the issue going to the ballot twice. However, political grandstanding and conflicting egos prevented any real efforts toward reunification.
Today, the St. Louis region is made up of 115 local governments. The cost to fund all of these governments: more than $2 billion per year. This fragmentation – and this price tag – raise plenty of questions. How are services being delivered today? Could these services be delivered more efficiently and affordably? Better Together is the organization taking a serious look at the issues that affect our divided region. We are not putting forth nor advocating for a specific plan. Instead, we are acting as a facilitator, a resource for information and tools, and a catalyst to spark discussion.
Better Together is sponsoring 16 months of community-based studies in the areas of Public Finance, Economic Development, Public Health, Public Safety, Parks and Recreation, and General Administration. Findings will be made available to the public in a highly accessible and easily understandable format. This is far more than data – it is the story of how we live in the region we call home.