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Opinion | We didn't want it then, why would we want it now? | Otis Sanford

Otis Sanford provides his point of view of the continued efforts of a consolidation of Memphis and Shelby County governments.
Credit: WATN

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Can we all just agree here and now that renewed efforts to consolidate Memphis and Shelby County governments are a colossal waste of time? I think so, even if those pushing a merger do not. 

At this point, only a handful of local leaders are in favor of moving forward with consolidation talk. The city council voted earlier this month to form a study group to determine if a consolidation charter commission is even feasible. And yesterday, several county commissioners threw ice cold water on the idea. 

Commissioner Tami Sawyer seemed to be the most vocal opponent, saying the city of Memphis has more to lose if a merger were to occur. Sawyer said those pushing consolidation are majority white, majority male and majority wealthy. And with newly released 2020 census numbers showing Shelby County’s white population down to 35 percent, Sawyer’s complaint is one that will likely stick. 

Plus, I don’t know of anyone in the suburbs who favors consolidation. Certainly not elected officials. Both Collierville and Germantown have proposals on their board agendas next week to formally oppose consolidation. 

They will likely pass with ease, so what more do we need? Suburban voters told us 10 years ago they don’t want a government merger and nothing has changed since. So yes, let’s study ways to create more efficiency in all local governments. But let’s drop the consolidation talk – once and for all. 

I’m Otis Sanford, and that’s my point of view.