Chamber calls for study on government consolidation


TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV)– The Tallahassee Chamber of Commerce is taking a sharp stance on the future of Tallahassee and Leon County.

On Tuesday, the Chamber announced that it plans to fund an independent study to look at the impact of consolidating local government.

Chamber Chair Heidi Otway said the idea came after the organization’s trip to Nashville, where the group learned about what it took to make the Music City a successful city, back in May. One of the points made there, was the aspect of consolidation. It was briefly discussed then, but the spark was reignited in light of some of the recent issues facing Tallahassee and Leon County.

“What we didn’t know back at the time in May, was that our community was going to be impacted by an FBI investigation at City Hall. What we didn’t know was that data was going to go out saying that Tallahassee had an extremely high crime rate compared to other cities,” said Otway. “All this cloud of uncertainty… our board, and our members and our leadership decided that we needed to do something.”

“So today, we take a position that something needs to be done and that we need to see change in our community.”

The study will look at what worked in other cities, what didn’t work in other cities and if this could be a solution to issues here.

Otway said the study is expected to wrap up sometime in mid January. It’ll then be shared with the public and key stakeholders in hopes of leading the discussion and deciding if this could be beneficial to Tallahassee and Leon County.

The city and county already overlap in various ways including organizations like Blueprint 2020, the Office of Economic Vitality, the Public Safety Complex and Consolidated Dispatch Agency. Often times contracts are agreed on jointly with outside law firms or agencies.

However, much still remains seperate like law enforcement, parks and rec, public works, budgets, commissions and more.