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Durham delays discussion of city-county merger

Posted March 10, 2009

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— Durham city and county representatives decided Tuesday to postpone a discussion of merging the two local governments until the annual budget process is complete.

The possibility of merging Durham’s two government structures has been on and off the table for more than half a century.

Ellen Reckhow, vice chair of the Durham County Board of Commissioners, said she thinks both governments should consider combining to save money.

"I think it's been about 10 years since we discussed it … and I think it’s a good time to revisit" the idea, Reckhow said. “We have a relatively small county geographically and a relatively large city.”

Eighty-five percent of the county’s population lives in the City of Durham.

Michael Page, chairman of the Durham County Board of Commissioners, said they would likely resume the discussion in July.

A study issued in 2000 said the two governments could realistically merge without much trouble except for one function: law enforcement. That is because the county has an elected sheriff while the city has an appointed police chief.

If both governments did decide merger is the way to go, the state Legislature would need to approve it.

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  • PaulRevere Mar 10, 2009

    If I'm not mistaken Guilford County has a succesful model of a joint county/city police force.
    Phrostbite

    I wouldn't exactly tout Guilford County as a beacon of hope for anyone.

  • RonnieR Mar 10, 2009

    The LE part is not a problem. The Sheriff is still the Sheriff and the chief LEO in those countys that don't have an elected Coroner. The Police Chief is still the Police Chief. About the only difference is the police answer complaints in the county instead of a Deputy. The Sheriff still runs the jail, provides court security and serves civil papers. The prior poster maybe thinking of Gaston County. Other counties in NC have the same arrangement, Mecklenburg being one.

  • Phrostbite Mar 10, 2009

    If I'm not mistaken Guilford County has a succesful model of a joint county/city police force.

  • 68_polara Mar 10, 2009

    Yes Hexzero you would benefit because of the debt the city has amassed by squandering millions. We in the county will become liable for that too. But the county is already in debt also. Remember all the bonds you voted for?
    Man I've got to move.

  • Hexzero Mar 10, 2009

    Wooooo...I may benefit. I pay both city and county government taxes. No kids, I am okay with the merger :)

  • White Eagle Mar 10, 2009

    Yeah remember what happened when they merged the schools. All the promises of saving money and then having too many people and no backbone to get rid of the excess. And as for reducing the cost per student and increasing the quality of education, when will that be happening? Seems to me the cost per student increased for the county people and the quality hasn't changed. We're still turning out kids that can't calculate change unless the register tells them how much.

    Anyway, it's a nice theory but in practice, I doubt it will be efficient enough to save any money especially since the biggest cost is in staff and no one will make the hard decision to reduce the numbers.

  • 68_polara Mar 10, 2009

    "Are there enough Durham County residents to overcome the liberal loons in the city?"

    No, many of those who now live in the county moved there to because of the liberal loons that run the city. Now were will we go?

    We must never forget what happened when they merged the city schools with the county schools. They claimed it would save money and raise the city schools up to the level of the county schools. As expected this was completely untrue the county schools only acquired the city's schools problems.

  • PaulRevere Mar 10, 2009

    Are there enough Durham County residents to overcome the liberal loons in the city?

  • Theseus Mar 10, 2009

    "Ellen Reckhow, vice chair of the Durham County Board of Commissioners, said she thinks both governments should consider combining to save money"

    If you Durham County residents believe that one I have some waterfront property in Florida I want to sell to you as soon as the tide goes out. This is not about saving money. This is about increasing the tax base in order to plunder people and continue spending like drunken sailors (apologies to drunken sailors). This is the result of socialist, er, excuse me, progressive social programs. As Margaret Thatcher said, "The only problem with socialism is that you run out of other people's money." That is the only thing you need to know when evaluating politicians appeal to "saving money." Then ask them what are they going to do with the your money that they are going to save. You can bet you won't be allowed to keep it.

  • Question Almost Everything Mar 10, 2009

    nnnnnnnnnnnooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo
    !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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