Mayor Herenton set to bring forth consolidation talks Tuesday

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC-TV) - Tuesday afternoon, the Shelby County Commission and the Memphis City Council will hear a pitch from Memphis Mayor Willie Herenton on consolidation.

Monday, consolidation was not on the agenda, but at a Shelby County Commission meeting, Action News 5 spoke with commissioners to get their take on folding the current city/county system into one central metro government.

Most agreed, in theory.

"We need to do something to abate the onslaught of high taxation in this city and county, Commissioner Sidney Chism said. "I think if we merged these governments we could save these taxpayers an extreme amount of money."

But does the city of Memphis fall into Shelby County or does Shelby County turn into the City of Memphis?

"I think we shouldn't get so hung up on the 'how.' I think it's 'should we?' And once we figure out 'should we,' then we worry about how we get it done," Commissioner Mike Carpenter said.

And do any elected offices disappear?

"There will some people who won't be legislators at the end of the day," Commissioner Steve Mulroy said. "You know, I could be one of them. Who knows? But it would be worth it for the long term structural goal."

Some commissioners said the school systems must remain separate.

"I'm not for it or against it right now, but the schools don't need to part of it," Commissioner Mike Ritz said.

Regardless, the discussion is just beginning.  City and county elected officials seem to agree that a two-government is system is wasteful and that a metro government would streamline the process and save money.

But most said they want to see how it would happen first before totally supporting it.

Click here to e-mail Nick Kenney.