Talk of consolidating Memphis and Shelby County gov'ts re-surfac - Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Talk of consolidating Memphis and Shelby County gov'ts re-surfaces

Posted: Updated:
MEMPHIS, TN -

(WMC-TV) - With a combined debt of $1.5 billion between the City of Memphis and Shelby County, talk of consolidating the two governments is resurfacing.

Some say taxpayers would achieve massive savings if the governments are combined. But others are not too keen on the idea.

Many believed government consolidation was impossible because they never believed the schools would merge. With the quasi school merger and mounting debt, the idea is taking root again.

"Before I even make a decision, I want to know how it's going to affect my property taxes and how it's going to affect my home and the value of my property," said Tim McKinley.

Shelby County property owners want an analysis of the impact of consolidation.

"Cities and counties are strapped with money so you've got to be innovative," said Shelby County Commissioner Melvin Burgess.

Lawmakers have mixed reaction to government consolidation, post the schools merger.

"With both the school systems as one, I thing we can start to look at shared services," continued Burgess.

"Since the schools have separated now and you have municipal schools and you have a unified school system, I don't know that you are any closer to consolidation in the county," said Commissioner Wyatt Bunker.

"In the long term, we must consolidate," said Memphis City Councilman Myron Lowery. "That's the only way for everyone in Shelby County to save money."

Councilman Lowery says decreasing state and federal resources make consolidation inevitable.

"We do not need two legislative bodies: City Council and County Commission," added Lowery. "We could all save money by joining forces and combining everything that we do."

Shelby County Commissioner Wyatt Bunker prefers combining resources over full consolidation, as unincorporated areas are annexed and county responsibilities shrink.

"I think there would be some future conversations about consolidating core services. Maybe police and fire and so forth," said Bunker.

Commissioner Melvin Burgess says it will take a forensic approach.

"We've got I.T., we've got H.R., we've got two purchasing. We've got two of everything. There comes a point in time we've got to sit down with all of our officials and our department heads and see how we can work together to come up under one common cause and save taxpayer's money," explained Burgess.

No official action is on Memphis or Shelby County's agendas to pursue the idea again.

Lawmakers call this the "courting stage."

Get the latest from Action News 5 anytime: iPhone | iPad | Android | SMS Alerts | Email Alerts | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

Copyright 2013 WMC-TV. All rights reserved.
  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • April Mugshots

    April Mugshots

    Tuesday, April 15 2014 11:48 AM EDT2014-04-15 15:48:25 GMT
    James SiebenthalJames Siebenthal
    The following are mugshots and charges of individuals arrested between April 1-4 by the Sullivan County Sheriff's Office.More >>
    The following are mugshots and charges of individuals arrested between April 1-4 by the Sullivan County Sheriff's Office.More >>
  • 7-year-old girl writes book after mother's death

    7-year-old girl writes book after mother's death

    Friday, April 18 2014 8:31 AM EDT2014-04-18 12:31:56 GMT
    (WMC-TV) - Most 7-year-old girls are playing dress up and reading books, but one Mid-South girl is the exception—not just reading but writing books. Shiloh Sanders talked about the inspiration behind herMore >>
    Most 7-year-old girls are playing dress up and reading books, but one Mid-South girl is the exception—not just reading but writing books.More >>
  • Teen killed in crash after prom

    Teen killed in crash after prom

    Saturday, April 19 2014 3:47 PM EDT2014-04-19 19:47:48 GMT
    (WMC-TV) - A young man's life was taken too soon. It was supposed to be a high school memory of a lifetime for Andrew Archer, but prom night turned into a tragic night for his family and friends. His promMore >>
    It was supposed to be a high school memory of a lifetime for Andrew Archer, but prom night turned into a tragic night for his family and friends.More >>
Powered by WorldNow