Counting the costs of county consolidation

Monday, January 23, 2006

There's talk in Lincoln of consolidating Nebraska's 93 counties, reducing the total number of county units to as few as 44.

As residents of rural Nebraska, we hope that never happens. In less populated counties, the courthouse is one of the things holding rural areas together. It serves as a place to do basic government business -- paying property taxes, getting licenses, holding court and voting.

Besides, having observed other consolidations -- of schools, businesses and government agencies -- we are skeptical that consolidation will truly save money. It would just change the place we do business, and -- because of that -- end up costing citizens more in time and travel to more distant government centers.

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