Syracuse County or City of Onondaga: Matt's Memo

Syracuse City Hall.

Will the day ever come that people who live anywhere from Baldwinsville to Nedrow, Skaneateles to Kirkville all live in a community known as Metro Syracuse?

Earlier tonight on NBC 3 News at 5:30 candidate Pat Hogan said he could envision a day when the doors closed on Syracuse City Hall and it became part of one larger metropolitan government across Onondaga County. One could see how tax dollars could be saved in a mega-consolidation, but imagine the political battles that would be fought to accomplish such a task. There are only a dozen or so communities across the country which have gone Metro and made it stick.

The Metro government of Nashville and Davidson County in a Tennessee is celebrating 50 years of existence. Government leaders from across the country visit Nashsville for more than just the country music. They want to learn how the city and county consolidated and whether it works effectively.

Nashville leaders are quite proud of the savings, but they acknowledge this was not an easy proposition to pass or execute. Nashville was way ahead of the curve. They were dealing with the initial suburban flight from the urban core. Racial divides were clear. Better paychecks were leaving the city.

A bitter debate ensued. One Nashville mayor instituted a commuter tax and began annexing county property into the city. Suddenly, the metro idea took off.

Three and a half years ago I blogged about the best choice for naming newly consolidated governmental entities. That's where I concluded it's better to retain the more familiar name. In this case it would by Syracuse instead of Onondaga County. A Metro Syracuse could offer Say Yes scholarships to students across the whole county. A Metro Syracuse could deliver greater tax support to downtown institutions of culture. A Metro Syracuse could give us one local tax bill instead of two or three or four.

Of course, there are all kinds of reasons to never consider this. It is complicated. It is difficult. It may be something nobody really wants even if it might be good for everybody. Tonight one underdog politician dipped his toe in the water of Metro Syracuse. Something that's easier to do when you're not in power than if you are.

Any questions or comment please forward them to I may even use some of your thoughts on NBC 3 News at 5:00, the 10:00 News on CW6 or on

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