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Durham County, city look at possible merger

Posted January 13, 2009

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— Durham County and city staff are studying the possibility of merging the two governments to save money.

City Councilman Howard Clement, who has been advocating a merger since 1971, suggested the idea again Tuesday during a joint meeting of the City Council and the county Board of Commissioners.

Clement said 82 percent of Durham County's population lives within the city limits, which makes two governments redundant. The overlap is especially wasteful when both governments have to cut services to make up for budget shortfalls during an economic downturn, he said.

Durham County has approved 3 percent cuts to county departments and nonprofits and has proposed similar cuts to Durham Public Schools and Durham Technical Community College to make up a projected $14.25 million deficit.

City Councilman Mike Woodard said he served on a committee that examined a possible city-county merger in both 1995 and 2000. He said he expects staff members to use some of those findings in the latest review of the idea.

Officials said they would discuss the issue more at a March meeting.

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  • PaulRevere Jan 13, 2009

    Maybe the county folks can finally vote some sense into Durham leaders. Not.Holding.Breath.

  • anonemoose Jan 13, 2009

    The biggest difference you will see is one real law enforcement agency for the county. No more turf battles and between the real police and the Sheriff's office.It will be easier to work crime since they will have county wide jurisdiction, and nor have to go and ask for help. The Sheriff will fight this tooth and nail since he loses 95% of his power, and loses hundreds of patronage jobs. The Nashville / Davidson County and Charlotte Mecklenburg PD's work great. Several of the towns actually contract out their LE services to the county since they have actual Police officers instead of Sheriff's Deputies.

    Don't get me wrong, S/O's have some great officers, but the political system of "writing one citation now loses one vote in November" doesn't work in this day and time.

  • ncmickey Jan 13, 2009

    You will still live in the County....the 2 goverments will just be combined....

  • Nana143 Jan 13, 2009

    NO NO NO. I do not want to be part of the city!! I moved to the county for a reason. Guess they need help in paying the Duke Lacrosse Players. I hope Durham County citizens and our elected officials have more sense than to consider this. Can't imagine how much my taxes will be once they merge and have plenty of money to waste.

  • fundybasher Jan 13, 2009

    long long overdue.

    it's way past time to cut the duplication.

  • 2beornot2be Jan 13, 2009

    Does that mean the citizens of Durham county would no longer have to pay City / County taxes? I doubt it. Only means layoffs and doing more with less staff (including fewer officers). Big problems (difference in pay between city vs. county police). I expect a feasability study that is expensive and then they decide not to do it due to an upswing in the economy.

  • f6rider Jan 13, 2009

    Combine the two, so I will be part of the city then I guess you better hurry up and get city water and sewer up my road.

  • 68_polara Jan 13, 2009

    NOOOOOOO!!!! We in the county do not want the debt the city has incurred buy squandering mountains of money!

  • bill52674 Jan 13, 2009

    Why wait until March to discuss it? Why not Feb or...NOW?!?!?!
    Oh, I know why. That would make too much sense.