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Do the collection of communities that make up Perry County have the government and school systems they want and need?
Many residents would say "yes, we're happy with the way things are."
That's a perfectly legitimate response. If it's the way the majority of residents feel, perhaps things should remain as they are.
We have reason to believe, however, some people feel they aren't treated as well as others are, even though they make the same contributions through property and sales taxes.
Add to that scenario the fact that people in Indianapolis are expending serious efforts on plans that could change our lives drastically. Efforts were made a short time ago to steal township representatives' duties and hand them to county officials. Some of those efforts were successful, and some are being tried again. The Indiana House approved a bill Thursday that will, if approved by the Senate, allow voters to decide whether the township level of government should disappear altogether.
Vanderburgh County voters will decide this year whether to consolidate city and county governments.
Perry County, as a whole, seems to squirm when questions arise whose answers might mean change. Many of us realize savings could come through mergers of public services, but we don't want to upset life as we and our friends know it.
We recommend a committee be assembled to brainstorm the questions we need to ask ourselves, and to examine the possible responses. In what areas might savings result from consolidations? If savings can be achieved, should they go toward reducing current burdens or into expansions of services? Could a single police agency, for example, provide better protection throughout the county than is provided to many of its residents now? Would similar service improvements become available to our children if our schools consolidated their resources, a move that could come as a mandate from Indianapolis?
We don't pretend to know the answers to these kinds of questions. We do feel strongly, however, that Perry County people should step up to ask them. We should chart our own course into the future, and not allow ourselves to be driven solely by winds emanating from Indianapolis.
We would all benefit from county-wide prosperity, and that should be the single objective in the examination we propose. True prosperity in a community is based in the strength of solid education and the resourcefulness of wise economy. We have a lot to be proud of in Perry County, but there's no doubt we can find ways to improve life for all of us. The first step is to ask the right questions.
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