Let’s work together

Published 8:55 am Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Isle of Wight County supervisors’ determination to explore consolidated services is music to our ears.

In approving the county’s fiscal 2010 budget last week, supervisors spoke of the need for an immediate look at how county government and the public schools, as well as other agencies in the county, can share services for the benefit of taxpayers.

We’d like to hear the same kind of discussion in Southampton County and Franklin.

Better yet, we’d like to see a joint meeting of elected officials in Franklin, Southampton and Isle of Wight in order to carry the consolidation talk a step further — to include shared services among the three localities.

Western Tidewater is too small for our three localities to attempt to function independently.

Much efficiency can be gained through a joint approach — whether it be school administration, social services, tax collections, utilities or planning and zoning.

The current economic recession has all three localities and their school divisions pinching pennies and trying to fund basic needs without compounding the financial plights of their citizenries through tax increases.

There’s no telling how many millions of dollars could be saved if the smart people in charge of all three local governments would simply put their heads together and approach the possibilities in a spirit of cooperation. The savings could be redirected to critical needs and to property owners, who have seen their tax bills rise steadily in recent years.

Isle of Wight’s supervisors are setting a good example by talking about consolidation within their own boundaries. Let’s widen the circle and get everyone in Western Tidewater talking about cooperation. Our region will be better for it.