Ken de la Bastide, Kokomo Tribune Enterprise Editor

County councilman Paul Wyman is asking Howard County officials to take the lead in the discussion of a possible consolidation of government services with the city of Kokomo.

Wyman, R-2nd District, has been a vocal advocate of consolidating services to reduce government spending since being elected to the Howard Council in 2006.

“I plan to request the county consider a resolution to begin the discussions with Kokomo on the formation of a bipartisan committee,” he said Tuesday. “It doesn’t matter if it’s the city or county that considers the resolution. I’m more than willing to request a resolution to get the ball rolling.”

Wyman said it’s time for representatives of the city and county get together and lay the groundwork for the process to be used for government consolidation.

Each entity would appoint people to a commission to do research and make recommendations on consolidation, he said.

“We’ve never had people willing to say we’re ready to do this,” Wyman said. “This will explore the opportunities for the consolidation of services.”

He requested on Tuesday that the commissioners and council consider draft a resolution that could be considered by mid-April.

Under state law, the resolution has to be passed by the executive or legislative branch of government, which means the Board of County Commissioners would have to consider the resolution to begin any consolidation process.

Commissioner Tyler Moore said consolidation would probably be discussed on Monday at the commissioners meeting.

“I favor consideration of a resolution,” he said. “The city and county need to be taken out of the discussion and a commission should be established.

“Are we doing this for the good of the taxpayers or to save our jobs?” Moore said of elected and appointed officials.

Moore said talks should start immediately on consolidating the dispatch centers and municipal stormwater management.

“That would show we’re making progress,” he said.

When asked about officials meeting to discuss consolidation of specific services like the dispatch centers and municipal stormwater, Wyman said that hasn’t worked in the past.

“We’ve been down that road before,” he said. “Politics and personal agendas get in the way and nothing happens.”

Wyman said what is needed is a group of non-elected citizens to research the options and make solid recommendations.

“I don’t want to wait on the mayor,” he said. “I sent an e-mail after the mayor’s State of the City address and urged the county to take a lead role.”

Kokomo Mayor Greg Goodnight in that speech urged that discussions begin to consider the consolidation of local governments.

Goodnight said Wednesday he hoped the process would start moving forward and wasn’t concerned if it started with the city or county.

“I assume they want to form a citizens committee,” he said. “The main point is that the process starts moving.”