Wharton joins call for consolidation - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Reported by Jason Miles

Wharton joins call for consolidation

County Mayor A.C. Wharton joined the call to consolidate Memphis and Shelby County government. But his plan had one major difference from Mayor Herenton's plan.

Wharton compared the county's current structure to a big SUV, continuously sucking up tax money. He said we need to trade it in for a Hybrid vehicle. Something that is much more efficient.

"I believe strongly that it is time to seriously study the prospect of consolidation," Wharton said.
The "c" word is something many listening to Mayor AC Wharton's speech tell me they did not expect to hear. But it is something the Mayor believes the county's future likely needs to include.

"We need to determine whether a change to our form of government will provide us with more progressive, comprehensive, and equitable means for financing our needs," Wharton said.
The biggest difference between his pitch and that of Memphis Mayor Willie Herenton? Wharton said consolidation, at this point, should not include city and county schools.
"I think that's been the biggest hurdle right now--all of the fears that emanate from what might happen with the schools," Wharton said.

Wharton said consolidation will have a better chance if those fears are eliminated.    

"As long as I'm here, that won't be a valid concern," Wharton said.

Some Shelby County leaders are already sold.

Wharton admits, however, selling many others on consolidation will be a monumental task.

Click here to e-mail Jason Miles.

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