Cahokia residents hear pitch for consolidation

National News

CAHOKIA, Ill. – Residents in Cahokia, Centreville, and Alorton will be asked in November if they want to become one city.  The new city would be Cahokia Heights.  Cahokia Mayor Curtis McCall, Jr. led a meeting on Monday offering residents some insight into why he believes a merger is needed.

“These communities are dying,” said McCall.  He points to declining population numbers and said in many cases federal and state funding are based on census figures.  McCall said, “If you consolidate these areas together, you have that population increase and you have more revenue.”

McCall joined other officials for the meeting held at Cahokia High School.  The meeting was held on the football field because of COVID-19 concerns.

An analysis of merging the 3 cities shows property taxes would decrease for Cahokia residents, according to a city analysis conducted by a consulting firm.

Cahokia resident Jessica McClelland attended Monday’s meeting and raised concerns.  She asked city officials how much a merger would cost, including any costs associated with changing city signs.   McClelland believes more information is needed before a merger takes place.

“If it’s a good deal, fine; it can wait,” she said.

McCall and other supporters believe action is needed sooner rather than later.

“We are in a state of emergency,” he said.  “We have to do something now because the next couple of years are awful bleak at this point.”

His father, Curtis McCall Sr. is leading the effort to merge all 3 cities and eliminate a layer of representation known as townships.  McCall Sr. is a township supervisor.  He points out that all elected officials in Cahokia, Alorton, and Centreville would give up their positions if the merger is approved. A new election would be held in April 2021 to determine the elected leaders for the new Cahokia Heights.

Cahokia is hosting 2 more meetings this week to share information about a possible merger.  The meetings are at 6 p.m. on the football field of Cahokia High School.  The meetings are limited to 50 people at a time in order to follow COVID-19 guidelines.  There were fewer than 50 residents who attended Monday’s meeting.

Voters in Centreville and Alorton have already voted to merge into a city known as Alcentra.  Voters in Centreville, Alorton, and Cahokia will be asked in November if they want to become the city of Cahokia Heights.

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