'No interest' found for metro

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

By Clint Confehr

Senior Staff Writer

Consolidation of city and county governments in Marshall County appears to be a dead issue, according to comments from county commissioners on Monday night.

"As instructed, Mayor (Joe Boyd) Liggett and I did inquire" with municipal leaders about consolidation under a metro charter, said Commissioner Don Ledford who sought a study committee on the subject he raised on Sept. 26. "We found no interest there."

Instead of forming a committee, Commission Chairman Mike Waggoner on Oct. 24 asked Ledford and Liggett to see if city leaders would support the idea of consolidation or merging services. Monday, Waggoner was asked if metro is dead.

"Absolutely," the chairman replied. "It would appear so."

Commissioner Seth Warf's response was similar, but less final: "I don't know. That's what it sounded like to me."

While another commissioner just said "yes," Commissioner Barry Spivey, chairman of the budget committee, said, "I don't know. I was just waiting for facts. We don't have facts, so I guess it's dead."

Lewisburg and Chapel Hill discussed the idea of consolidating governments, or merging services, perhaps like the county and Lewisburg share animal control responsibilities, and how building inspection and property assessments are conducted by the county for the city, or how two governments cooperated to build the Columbia State Community College campus here.

Ledford and Liggett consulted with leaders of all four municipalities during a meeting of the Joint Economic and Community Development Board, but the discussion reached no conclusion and Ledford saw that as "no interest."

Ledford declined to elaborate on his report.

Liggett told JECDB members he and other leaders are busy enough with their jobs, so he'd understand why officials would be reluctant to take on more responsibilities.

Ledford championed the idea as a way to find cost savings for taxpayers.