Will Knox County and Schuyler County really disappear and be swallowed up into Scotland County?
Not going to happen according to Fourth District State Representative Greg Sharpe, who serves the region.
News of House Joint Resolution 55 spread across northeast Missouri last week. The proposed amendment to Article VI of the Constitution of Missouri, called for 31 Missouri counties to be consolidated into 14 counties.
The proposal was introduced by State Representative Dana Mitten of St. Louis.
It reads as follows:
That at the next general election to be held in the state of Missouri, on Tuesday next following the first Monday in November, 2020, or at a special election to be called by the governor for that purpose, there is hereby submitted to the qualified voters of this state, for adoption or rejection, the following amendment to Article VI of the Constitution of the state of Missouri:
Section A. Article VI, Constitution of Missouri, is amended by adding one new section, to be known as Section 3(a), to read as follows: Section 3(a). 1. On January 1, 2023, the thirty-one counties listed under subsection 4 of this Section shall consolidate into fourteen counties. Each new, consolidated county shall have the name of county in its grouping that had the largest population on January 1, 2021. 2. On January 1, 2021, the counties shall begin a two-year transition period to effectuate the consolidation. The person duly serving as chief executive of the grouping’s most populous county as of January 1, 2019, shall serve as the chief executive of all counties in the grouping until the general election of 2024, at which time the position shall be filled by an official duly elected by the voters of the consolidated county. Such chief executive may employ staff to assist him or her during the transition period so long as each county that is part of the consolidation is represented among the staff.
All persons duly serving as commissioners as of January 1, 2019, other than the chief executive of the most populous county in a grouping, shall serve until the November 2022 general election, at which time three commissioners shall be duly elected to serve the consolidated county. The commissioner who receives the most votes shall serve for six years; the commissioner who receives the second most votes shall serve four years; the commissioner who receives the third most votes shall serve two years; and, upon the end of each of these commissioner’s years of service, the office of a commissioner shall be a six year term and filled by a duly elected official.
4. Each county of the following groupings shall be consolidated with the other counties in its grouping to form one county: (1) Atchison County and Holt County; (2) Barton County and Dade County;(3) Caldwell County and Daviess County; (4) Carroll County and Chariton County;(5) Carter County, Reynolds County, and Shannon County;(6) Clark County and Lewis County; (7) Douglas County and Ozark County; (8) Gentry County, Nodaway County, and Worth County; (9) Harrison County and Mercer County; (10) Hickory County and Saint Clair County; (11) Knox County, Schuyler County, and Scotland County; (12) Maries County and Osage County;(13) Monroe County and Shelby County; and (14) Putnam County and Sullivan County.
“Many of my constituents have asked about HJR 55, a House Joint Resolution filed by Representative Gina Mitten,” said Sharpe. “You may not know it but there is a plan to merge the City of St. Louis and St. Louis County. This effort is being pushed by Better Together, a group funded by billionaire Rex Sinquefield. The effort calls for a statewide vote to merge city and county governments.
“Representative Mitten filed HJR 55 in response to that effort. In a press release she said, ‘Basically, what’s good for the goose is good for the gander.’ So basically she filed the resolution in jest. There is no need to concern yourselves, it will not come up for a vote.”
Under the proposal, Scotland, Schuyler and Knox counties would have been consolidated into one county.
According to Census Date from 2018, Scotland County has a population of 4,883, compared to 4,450 in Schuyler County and 3,976 in Knox County. If those numbers held through January 1, 2021, the consolidated group would have been called Scotland County.