Letís get rid of German.
Not blow it up or empty it out, just dissolve it. The township, that is. The people and their homes can stay right where they are, but just be governed by some other town. Letís say ... McDonough.
So now youíre thinking Iíve completely lost it. But Iíve been thinking about this ever since Gov. Spitzer issued his recommendations on consolidation last fall. Sure, he was focusing on a merger (a word which since, Iíve been told, has become irrevocably dirty) of the town and city of Norwich. That, as you astute readers know by now, went over like the proverbial lead balloon, much as I had expected it would.
If thereís one thing Iíve learned in my tenure here, itís that Chenango Countyís not a big fan of change. With all the personalities and history involved with the City of Norwich and the Town of Norwich, I had an inkling that it would not be a marriage made in heaven. Even if it made sense on paper, which I truly believe it does, it was apparent from the start that the egos involved would never allow it to happen.
Maybe thatís because the idea is too big. Too much change all at once. Too scary. What we need is to start on a smaller scale. Something along the same lines, more manageable, less impact.
Thatís why Iím proposing here today that we make it our goal in 2008 to get rid of German.
Before all you Germanites get in an uproar, we could just as easily pick Lincklaen, or Pitcher, or Columbus, or Pharsalia. Doesnít matter really. Chenango County has 21 towns. Six villages. One city. And roughly 50,000 people. You do the math.
German seems like a logical place to start. Itís the least-populated town in the county according to the 2000 census Ė yet has about the same number of elected officials as towns 10 times its size. Dissolve the town government, and let the 400 or so people who live there be governed by neighboring McDonough instead. Keep calling German a ďhamletĒ if youíd like Ė keep its history, its sense of community, but really is there any logical reason for it to have its own government?
As I mentioned, the same could be said of many of the townships in Chenango County Ė geographic designations that may have made perfect sense in the 1800s do not necessarily make sense in 2008. Itís far past time we stopped doing things just because ďweíve always done it that way.Ē Thereís no more stagecoach, no canal, heck even no railroad Ė the way our county is divided (and divided and divided) just doesnít make sense anymore.
So letís start small. Letís see the supervisors from some of these tiny towns step up and volunteer to be ďmerged.Ē Whittle the county Board of Supervisors from 23 members to say, 12. Our government is too big, too cumbersome, too antiquated to continue to operate in the best interests of the people in the 21st century.