Another View On Merging County Offices

The County Assessor gave his view on a pending merger resolution to merge offices. That resolution comes back before the Cass County Board of Commissioners on Tuesday, May 15th.

If passed by the county board, the resolution places the consolidation of the Cass County Register of Deeds Office and the Cass County Assessor Office on the November General Election ballot. Voters would then decide if the office should be under the direction of one elected official beginning in 2015.

The Cassgram reports Commissioners tabled the resolution until the May 15th meeting.

Cassgram asked the current elected officeholders to supply information. We heard from Register of Deeds Dave Jordan last Friday (5/4/12 Cassgram). Today, County Assessor Allen Sutcliffe explains why he has been against the idea since it first surfaced two years ago.

“Prior to such an extreme and radical change to our county government’s organization there needs to be an honest, internal discussion between county officials concerning all of the issues to communicate all the reasons for and against such action.”

“There has been no study or evidence to suggest there would be any real savings in the county budget from such a consolidation.”

“Any increase in efficiency that could possibly be realized by consolidation is not even a real possibility with current facility limitations.”

Smaller counties have consolidated positions due to a small volume of work, but that is not the situation in Cass County, says Sutcliffe.

The assessor also points out that in the public hearing on May 1st, there were comments by only three people outside of the elected officials, one a candidate for commissioner and two title company representatives who both opposed the merger. So the bottom line is there is no demand from the public for a change in county government, he says.

“The Register of Deeds and I do agree that our offices are quite different in operation and function and consolidation would not add to our efficiency,” says Sutcliffe.

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