Consolidating is smart idea

Published 12:17 am Sunday, August 9, 2009

Regardless of the context, consolidating or combining services almost always leads to cost savings and more efficiency.

That seems to be the case with the proposal to house the Dennis J. Boll Group and Shelter Home and the Lawrence County Alternative School at the same location along State Route 93.

This just makes sense because it will save the county money spent transporting the youth from the group home to the alternative school.

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We applaud Judge David Payne, Lawrence County Educational Service Center Superintendent Jim Payne and director Brett Looney for their work to make this happen.

We hope the county commissioners offer their blessings.

And, while they are at it, now may be time to revisit other redundancies, inequities and inefficiencies in the county and the city government.

Of course the first place to look is dispatching within the city and the county.

This becomes a hot election-year topic but nothing substantial ever seems to come out of it.

While some argue that it wouldn’t save that much money, we just don’t see how that fuzzy math adds up.

At the very least it will eliminate redundancy, allow resources to be used elsewhere and provide more streamlined services for taxpayers.

A second area to look at would be the county and city health departments. Both serve essentially the same functions — housed in the same building no less — and could likely be merged together to create one consolidated resource and potentially save some money in the process.

A third area for the county to address would be its insurance plans. We know the commissioners have been looking at the various providers, which is absolutely a smart move. But it may be just as vital that the county work toward unifying the various levels of employee contributions in its departments and its unions.

Some employees pay a significant percentage while others pay nothing for full health insurance.

As government struggles to make ends meet and maintain services, it only makes sense to consolidate and equalize when possible.