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St. Louis Aldermen Push City-County Economic Partnership Bill Forward

St. Louis City Hall
Richie Diesterheft | Flickr
St. Louis City Hall

A new economic development agreement between St. Louis City and County is a step closer to reality.

The St. Louis Board of Aldermen moved a bill forward Thursday that would create a long-talked about partnership.

The bill’s sponsor, Alderman Fred Wessels of the 13th Ward, says it will create entity to serve businesses that want to move into the region.

"It would minimize, not eliminate, but it would minimize what I call tax subsidy shopping,” Wessels said. “You know the business goes to the city, they ask what we’ll give them. Then they go to the county, get their reading, and then come back to the city and play one off of the other.”

The agreement would bring together 10 employees from the city’s St. Louis Development Corporation and 30 employees from the Economic Council of St. Louis County in one office based in Clayton.

Alderman Antonio French voted against the move in part because he says the board was not given full details about the agreement during committee hearings.

And French says he’s not satisfied with the current attention given to his 21st Ward from the city’s SLDC.

“So now you’re talking about shifting the focus of SLDC to a smaller geographic area to a much larger geographic area,” French said. “So what we need to be convinced of is that this is actually going to be something that works in favor of St. Louis city folks.”

Wessels says 50 employees will remain in the city’s economic development arm.

A Board will take a final vote June 7. The county’s next vote is June 4.

Follow Maria Altman on Twitter: @radioaltman

Maria is the newscast, business and education editor for St. Louis Public Radio.