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County Approves Economic Partnership With City

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An estimated 300 people packed the St. Louis County Government Center on November 16th, 2011, giving their opinions about the county's budget proposal. (KMOX/Michael Calhoun)

An estimated 300 people packed the St. Louis County Government Center on November 16th, 2011, giving their opinions about the county’s budget proposal. (KMOX/Michael Calhoun)

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CLAYTON, Mo. (KMOX) - The St. Louis County Council voted Tuesday night to approve a ten-year partnership between the city and county’s economic development departments, saying it will boost business in the region, but many citizens are concerned the move is one step closer to a merger between the city and county.

The discussion became tense last night as councilman Mike O’Mara sought to reassure a female resident who was concerned about a potential merger.

“It appears to be another step in the process and Mr. Dooley and Mr. Slay have both publicly stated their interest in the merger,” the woman said, referring to St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay and St. Louis County Executive Charlie Dooley.

“You using that for political purposes down the road doesn’t have nothing to do with it,” O’Mara replied as the two spoke over each other.

“No, it’s practical purposes, it’s not partisan, but thank you,” the resident replied.

The measure passed 5-2 Tuesday night but similar concerns over a possible merger led Republican councilman Greg Quinn and councilwoman Colleen Wasinger  to vote against it.

Resident Tony Sosa said slowly easing into a merger is the worst manner in which it could be done.

“Any time there is government bodies that have quiet talks, there is a recipe for deception and possible corruption,” he said.

Dooley says the only way the city and county could join is by a vote of the people.

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