City, county should work on consolidation study together

Published 12:39 am Sunday, May 28, 2017

We applaud the City of Natchez for taking preliminary steps to consider consolidation of some city and county services.

While the subject of consolidation has been debated, mulled and ultimately tabled for decades, the truth is no one knows for sure yet how merging services might improve the quality of those services and potentially save taxpayer money.

But logically, such consolidation should result in efficiencies. Currently city and county government has a number of duplicated services. Merging those together would almost certainly allow less administrative overhead and more resources to give back to taxpayers, provide greater pay for public workers or both.

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City leaders have begun a discussion with Mississippi State University’s John C. Stennis Institute of Government and Community Development to learn what a study on consolidation might cost.

We encourage the city and county to work together on such a study and share the expenses, as the result very likely will benefit all of the area’s residents.

We have long suggested that our community is at its best when all sides are pulling in the same direction, as one.

Consolidation — or even a study of it — is certainly one of those cases as well. We all need to keep an open mind, push city and county leaders to publicly share what they learn in the study and make a genuine effort to understand the facts about the effort, not merely make up our minds based on hunches.