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Consolidation equals positive change

 


The subject of consolidation has come up many times over the years, and the benefits seem to always outweigh the negatives. Sometimes it comes down to the personal feelings of the sitting councils and what they are willing to look at in their own governmental establishment. How the end game ends up is unknown, but the talk and discussion should still be had. This huge, but needed, change will only benefit the citizens of our area. Yes, growing pains will be there, but it will be worth it. Here are some of the things I think about.

County issues: Really, this is a non-issue. There are many cities and towns in our state and country that reside in multiple counties. This really changes nothing. County lines will not be redrawn, although that makes for an interesting discussion. What it does do, though, is open the eyes of counties that will look to the corner of their district and see a much larger and consolidated city that wants their attention. Our voice becomes louder.

Consolidation of utilities: This can only bring rates down for the citizens. Yes, we will still be dependent on what we have now for energy, but through a consolidated utilities group things should be driven down; and looking at water and sewer rates, things should be adjusted for those living in places where we currently purchase water or sewer from the adjacent community.

Government: Having one council with representatives from each district will really streamline the way things are currently being done. We will also have a voice that echoes the true nature of our community. Plus, we will be considered large enough to go after larger grant opportunities to really increase impact in our region.

Fire/EMS/Law: They already work together so well, but consolidating will really enhance the resources provided to us all. Training together and working under one set of protocols and accountability will consolidate this unit and give us true 24-hour coverage for law enforcement and a stronger unit for EMS and fire. It will also add needed numbers for grants and possibly lower insurance rates across the board.

Business growth: With a higher population under one name and government, the attracting of new business should increase with less red tape and larger land mass on paper. Maybe I dream a bit, but I see larger companies looking for cheaper solutions to look to our area, which in turn creates new jobs and stimulates the economy. It would also be an attractant to others moving to the area who currently look elsewhere for housing.

Building boom: Local contractors will find themselves building more homes for single families who want to stay in a united community. Our borders will expand even more with families wanting to stay in a community that is on the rise.

Community equality: As we tear down the old, invisible boundaries from the past and move forward as one, we will find ourselves being an actual community, sharing resources under a single umbrella. No more confusion from people visiting, either, as we become the one and only town in our area.

This has been a dream of many over the years, and we finally see a flicker of light as we step into this together. This is an opportunity to consolidate not only our towns and cities, but to unify as a community of people who love our area and want to see it be the best it can be. So many years ago, our schools merged; and now we have the good sense to also become one and show future generations that we can overcome differences and invisible borders to work together for the common good of all. Yes, there will be growing pains and the unknown, but it is time to raise our hands together and be one.

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