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Leaders discuss Jacksonville's consolidation on 45th anniversary

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Updated: 10/02/2013 12:03 am
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Today marks the 45th anniversary of Jacksonville's historic consolidation. One city leader is pushing for an in-depth review of the landmark merger while others hail the decision to combine city and county governments.

According to Former Mayor John Delaney, had it not been for consolidation Jacksonville as we know it, would not exist.

"We would look like Detroit. Almost the exact same thing was happening to Jacksonville. The tax base had completely collapsed people had moved out of what they call the old core city," said Delaney.

After years of corruption scandals, failing schools and skyrocketing property tax rates, leaders decided to combine city and county governments as a way to streamline services.

"You don't have two police departments, two fire departments, two permitting departments. All that redundancy is eliminated by the consolidation," said Delaney.

But city council president Bill Gulliford, said consolidation isn't all good. About a month ago he put together a task force to study just how efficient our government really is.

"This is an opportunity to take a hard look at what's working, what isn't working, what could be improved. I think it's something that absolutely should be done," said Gulliford.

Even consolidation advocates like Delaney believe there are some things the merger has not fully accomplished.

"The attention on neighborhoods because it really was sort of a county wide look," said Delaney.

The consolidation task force was given about nine months to complete their study. A full report is expected some time next in spring 2014. 
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