City and county must meet on consolidation

Published 12:00 am Friday, December 5, 2003

An informal straw poll of Natchez and Adams County officials reveals support for consolidation &045; but no one seems to have the same idea what that is.

For the most part, city aldermen are in support of consolidating all areas of government. But while some county supervisors support the same idea, others want consolidation of services &045; but don’t want to see the same city ordinances and restrictions extended to county residents.

Now that we know where everyone stands, we need to see our city and county leaders come together for an open dialogue on consolidation issues. They need to begin talking and putting a plan in place.

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Obviously there is support for some kind of consolidation &045; whether it is just services or it is a full governmental merger.

The two boards, though, must remember to keep their discussions and their study of the issue open to the public. While there is a lot of public support for consolidation, there are also a lot of people &045; many of them county residents &045; who don’t trust the idea.

In order to make this work &045; whatever kind of consolidation it is &045; residents need to know what is going on.

We have already seen that consolidation of certain services is successful. We have a special joint school district as well as consolidated tax collector’s and tax assessor’s offices.

The city and county have a unique opportunity &045; especially now that new county supervisors have been elected &045; to begin formal meetings and formal study on consolidation and how it can benefit our entire community. So far, Supervisor Darryl Grennell has proposed a meeting on consolidating fire protection &045; and issue that had both boards hung up before their budgets were due &045; but no one has set a date.

We urge officials to set that meeting date as soon as possible &045; we need to begin the discussion and the planning now.