A committee tasked with addressing the consolidation of Howard County and Kokomo government has endorsed a proposal set down by Kokomo’s mayor.
For months, Kokomo Mayor Greg Goodnight has advocated combining the emergency dispatch operations run independently by the city and Howard County, noting that though Kokomo residents pay the lion’s share of a fee on landline telephones to fund the county’s operation, they receive little of its service.
“The money goes to run the county dispatch, but if they need 911 services, they pick up the phone, they get a city dispatcher and a city police officer or a city fire department would respond to those calls,” Goodnight said. “So in essence they’re paying for services they’re not receiving.”
Now that a committee has backed Goodnight’s plan and is considering other ways to combine city and county services, the mayor said he believes there’s momentum in the direction of adopting tenets of the Kernan-Shepard report on local government consolidation. But he said while the public has been relatively easy to convince of cost savings, fellow politicians may be tougher nuts to crack.
“Getting people to put down their guards — elected officials, politicians and such — to make sure we do what’s for the betterment of the community is not always very easy,” he said.
The mayor adds a recent plea to constituents asking for more areas where consolidation might save money has produced few new ideas.