Consolidation of services not governments
The study for shared municipal services in Muskegon County began last year — as did the One Kent project in Kent County. But there is a major difference between the two concepts: The Muskegon proposals are only for sharing government services, not consolidating local governments into one big one.
Perhaps for that reason, the Muskegon proposal has not received nearly the news media attention as One Kent.
“I think we got a little overshadowed by the One Kent project. It was not our intention to work that low key,” joked Muskegon Lakeshore Chamber of Commerce President Cindy Larsen.
However, she noted that the Muskegon County group “had looked at” consolidation of smaller governments into one.
“In our research, we found that, throughout the country, the best way to start making a government more efficient is through consolidated services, not by consolidating government. That is something that takes a lot of time to evolve, and the way to approach it is to begin the process of working as a team at the local level to provide government services.
“There are ways to save money and/or increase the quality of service by local governments working together. And that’s the bottom line,” said Larsen.