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West Tennessee County looks at Metro Government

Rural King

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The Mayor of Madison County (Jackson) has started to hold series of 10 townhall meetings throughout Madison County to get public input on developing the county'e long term development strategy, which they are calling Madison County 20/20. One of the idea's he is throwing out is the consolidation of Madision County and Jackson into a metropolitan form of government, which could reduce the duplication of services, jobs, and associated government operation costs. Of course there is some well-founded hestitation from some county residents that a metro-government might focus more on the needs of Jackson than the county and reduce the quality of services to those residents outside Jackson proper.

So could Jackson be the next "MetroGov" in the state? I guess we will have to wait and see how things will develop in the coming years. Until then, lets talk about it. :D

I think it would probably be a good idea. Jackson is sprawling out, and by 2020 it will be significantly larger and thus there will be significantly less county if the city annexes all its growth. So it seems rational to think that if Jackson becomes increasingly dominant in the county that consolidation would make increasingly more economic and political sense.

So what does everyone think? Is Jackson the most likely and/or best candidate to be next to adopt metropolitan form of government with-in the state? Any reasons why anyone thinks it might or might not work there?

Here is the Jackson Sun article that reported the story today:


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I guess that would depend on how the residents of any other incorporated cities in Madison, as well as the unincorporated areas feel about it. For that to be approved, both the city and the county residents would have to approve.

Is there much "bad blood" between the county and city residents, like in Shelby County where everyone tries to get out of the way of annexation-mad Memphis?

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Unfortunately, race will probably play a role in this.

Madison County:



Jackson city



Close to half the white people in the county live outside Jackson. If any opponents make their anti-consolidation pitch as some effort to prop up a stereotyped ghetto town, lots of whites will buy into it.

I hate to say all that, and maybe I'm being too harsh, but I think that will be a factor.

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^ Actually I went and looked it up, and there are two other consolidated city/county metropolitan governments in the state, but both are small rural counties. Moore County and Lynchburg consolidated in 1988 and Hartsville and Trousdale County consolidated in 2001 (source: http://ftp2.census.gov/govs/cog/gc0212tn.p...0in%20Tennessee ). Interesting facts no? So I get to change my title now from "second" to "next". LOL :)

Here is a link to a report from the Tennessee Advisory Committee on Intergovernmnetal Relations:


Lots of interesting facts about how a consolidation in Tennessee has to be done and the history of the process in the state.


Back to Jackson-Madison County - I think there would definately be opposition from portions of the county's population, and some would might try to use race as an issue; but the county and city schools are already consolidated so race should not play a huge factor IMO. Its also key to note that it's the county mayor proposing the consolidation, not the city, which is usually the case when consolidations are proposed. That indicates to me that the motive and argument that the proponents would use would focus on saving money and increasing government efficency, which I think would sell in fiscally conservative and business friendly Madison County.

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This could happen my friends. I think more locals are looking at this as a way to streamline and save. I know that Rutherford County/Murfreesboro is currently looking at the idea.

Are they talking about swallowing up all of Rutherford County except LaVergne and Smyrna? I would find it difficult to imagine that the three cities would ever combine together.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Looks like residents from northern Madison county are not for the Metro government from what I read in the Jackson Sun today, with some local county residents saying the issue is dead and that it can't past in the county, so there is no need for the county government to spend anytime researching the idea. Now thats just what was said by a county resident interviewed by the paper, so thats not official by any means the ability of it to be passed; but if the Jackson Sun reported it, it must be a pretty strong sentiment I figure. So I wonder just how alive the the MetroGov proposal will be after the Madsion County Mayor finishes his town hall meeting tour.

Here is the Jackson Sun article:


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  • 2 months later...

Today in the Jackson Sun in the reported that Mayor of Jackson, Charles Farmer, in his State of the City address has suggested the City Council dissolve the city's charter in order to accomplish a Metro Government between Jackson and Madison County, in the wake of the County Mayor Jerry Gist becoming less convinced of the vaiblity of the cost savings in Metro government and I think finding lackluster support during his community townhall tour late last year. The article stated even if the city dissolved the charter, it might have to go before the voters to actually have the city charter become dissolved and force the county government to take over and become is essence a de facto metro government.

Jackson Sun Article:


I think this is a pretty bold move by the Mayor, but bold and legacy building moves are always easier gambles when your not running for re-election. So this could become very interesting.

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