Sauget, Illinois, a village just across the Mississippi river from St. Louis, was formed "to offer Monsanto a tax- and regulation-free dumping location at a time when environmental rules existed mainly at the local level. We were basically incorporated to be a sewer," Mr. Sauget, the town manager says.
However polluted, and "morally corrupt" Sauget may be, it does offer a lesson for other Midwestern towns seeking economic rejuvenation through other means besides attracting a Wal-Mart or a new housing development. "Instead, Sauget has embraced some of the less-popular remnants of the industrial Midwest as well as the seamier side of the U.S. service economy. Along with companies that smelt zinc, treat sewage and incinerate toxic waste are a brace of strip clubs, two nightclubs and a 24-hour liquor store that doubles as an off-track betting parlor and the largest lottery outlet in Illinois."
Also of interesting note is Sauget's per capita income of about $19,000 which is close to Chicago's. "And with annual property and other tax revenues of $7 million -- which works out to a remarkable $28,000 per person -- residents of Sauget (pronounced so-ZHAY) enjoy free sewer service and trash pickup, and a force of 16 police officers and 16 firefighters -- one of each for every 15 locals."