St. George Disincorporation Passes
The city’s business will soon be St. Louis County’s knot to unravel.
Unofficial election results are now in: St. Louis County is about the have one less city.
The ballot measure to disincorporate St. George has passed. The tiny, often scandal-fraught municipality will be dissolved as a legal entity and the neighborhood will become part of unincorporated Affton.
The measure, placed on the ballot by a petition circulated earlier this year, won with 73 percent of the vote: 345 voted ‘yes’ and 128 voted ‘no.’ Only a 60 percent majority was required to pass.
“We won it, baby,” said soon-to-be-former mayor Carmen Wilkerson, who lead the charge for disincorporation, beginning with a write-in campaign for mayor last spring. “I feel jubilant and totally intoxicated.”
On a rainy election day with no other races on the ballot, 59 percent of St. George’s registered voters showed up to vote. Wilkerson said she had been hoping for 100 percent voter turnout, but that 59 percent was still impressive. Off-year November elections in St. Louis often bring out only 20 percent of registered voters.
St. George will remain a city until the county board of elections certifies the election results, a process that will likely take another week. Then it will be up to St. Louis County to wind down the business of the municipality and outstanding contracts. The county council will appoint a trustee to deal with city assets, including the small house that serves as town hall, the playground that serves as St. George’s park and what reserves are left in city accounts.
“St. Louis County has remained very neutral during this, but I think they were pleased with the vote,” Wilkerson said. Since April St. Louis County officials have visited St. George several times to present at town hall meetings about the scope of county government activities and the changes residents would see in taxes and services if they eliminated their municipality.
St. George’s city clerk and treasurer will likely be asked to stay on temporarily to help the county sort through city records and clear up the rest of the city business.
Wilkerson and the other elected officials will no longer hold office.
“I am going to get reacquainted with three of the most adorable grandchildren in the world,” Wilkerson said of her plans.
Even though she is done with her crusade, which began originally with a bid to disband the city’s police department, Wilkerson still characterized herself as an activist and said she expected she wouldn’t have to look far to find a new cause.
“I think the lesson to be learned here is that everybody just needs to pay attention to what’s going on with their local government and understand the power of the vote,” Wilkerson said. “We aren’t just helpless. Action can be taken. It’s doable.”
For the full story behind St. George’s disincorporation, read Affton-Shrewsbury Patch’s series “Taking Apart a Town.”