ST. LOUIS — Newly-minted St. Louis County Executive Sam Page and St. Louis Mayor Lyda Krewson talked about city-county cooperation for about 90 minutes Friday but said the recently-scrapped Better Together merger plan didn’t come up.
The two leaders, in their first in-person meeting since Page became county executive April 29, said they discussed a wide range of subjects but that no decisions were made.
“There are an enormous amount of opportunities” for cooperation, Page said after the session in Krewson’s City Hall office. “Public health is certainly the one that’s at the top of my mind, especially dealing with the opioid epidemic.”
Page didn’t elaborate on what further cooperation on that subject might occur.
Krewson said the two knew each other slightly from their work a few years ago to create a local-level prescription drug monitoring program because of the state Legislature’s refusal to set up a statewide operation.
Krewson when she was an alderman spearheaded creation of the city’s involvement in the program and Page, a physician who was then on the County Council, sponsored legislation setting up the county’s involvement.
The program’s database, which has since expanded to include many other counties across Missouri, helps authorities and providers track individuals who might be getting multiple prescriptions for opioids.
Krewson said public safety and law enforcement were among other issues discussed Friday but the two provided no details.
Krewson and Page’s predecessor as executive, Steve Stenger, had strongly supported the Better Together plan — a proposed state constitutional amendment to merge the governments of St. Louis, St. Louis County and all 88 county municipalities if voters statewide agreed.
But Page had said not leaving that decision to St. Louis and St. Louis County voters wasn’t the right process.
Page was chosen by the County Council to succeed Stenger, who resigned and pleaded guilty to a pay-to-play scheme involving contracts with the county and associated entities.
Page, who on Friday took MetroLink from Clayton to downtown for the meeting, and Krewson said the session was aimed at establishing a working relationship.
“I would suggest this will probably be the first of many meetings as we work together on mutual issues,” the mayor said.
Later Friday, the two took part in a news conference in Clayton with Metro officials to announce the renewal of a reduced fare program for young people on MetroLink and MetroBus.