Thursday, April 24, 2014

Is consolidation the answer for increased government efficiency?

By VICKIE MOSS, Herald Public Affairs Editor | 11/10/2009

A tough economy sometimes makes people consider issues that might not come up during good times, Ottawa City Administrator Richard Nienstedt said.

Officials for the county and cities in Franklin County aren’t having discussions about consolidation — government bodies joining forces to reduce expenses and avoid duplicating services. That’s a difficult political issue best left to the citizens to decide, they say.

A tough economy sometimes makes people consider issues that might not come up during good times, Ottawa City Administrator Richard Nienstedt said.

Officials for the county and cities in Franklin County aren’t having discussions about consolidation — government bodies joining forces to reduce expenses and avoid duplicating services. That’s a difficult political issue best left to the citizens to decide, they say.

Still, there are examples of cooperation between governments.

• Ottawa and Franklin County have an interlocal agreement, which allows city regulators to control building and growth in an area immediately outside the city.

• Ottawa city commissioners, USD 290 board members and county commissioners meet for a luncheon once a month to talk about local issues.

• Officials with various governmental bodies serve together on boards like Ottawa/Franklin County Economic Development, area Chambers of Commerce boards and the Franklin County Convention & Tourism Board.

• The Ottawa Recreation Commission provides recreation needs with joint funding and input from the city and school district.

• The Franklin County Sheriff’s Department has a contract to provide law enforcement patrol in the City of Pomona and provides a school resource officer for the Wellsville School District.

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