Local leaders meet with Spitzer commission on merger

NORWICH – There are a number of conceivable ways the town and city of Norwich could combine services and share costs, state officials say.

But is there any interest in merging the two?

A group of 13 town and city political and business leaders discussed the issue with representatives from Governor Eliot Spitzer’s Commission on Local Government Efficiency & Competitiveness Wednesday at the city’s fire house.

The meeting follows Spitzer’s announcement in September that the two municipalities should examine the possibility of becoming one government. The request was one of 150 consolidation initiatives generated by local governments from across the state.

“As elected officials, our responsibility is to do our best for the whole area,” City of Norwich Mayor Joseph Maiurano told the group. “I’d like to do have something done way ahead of time, so we’re prepared for the future.”

Maiurano asked the Town of Norwich to join the city in supporting a study examining the feasibility of consolidation, a request it declined two years before.

“There’s an interest in doing the study,” said town Supervisor Dave Law, adding that it will be discussed at the next board meeting this Monday.

Even if the study proves merging is not an option, said Lori Heithoff, deputy director of the commission, it would still be a beneficial exercise.

“It will benefit the municipalities involved to look at all the opportunities where they can do things better,” said Heithoff.

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