In the ongoing attempt to address dwindling resources and proposed cuts in local government funding, several county groups are trying to see if two heads (or three) are better than one.

In the ongoing attempt to address dwindling resources and proposed cuts in local government funding, several county groups are trying to see if two heads (or three) are better than one.

The Union County commissioners met with Marysville city staff and Marysville school district officials last week to begin a conversation about consolidating some services among the three bodies. Though no plans have been put into action yet, the idea was to open a conversation and get the ball rolling, according to Marysville Mayor John Gore.

"Probably about eight or nine years ago, we had a meeting and talked about what we could do jointly between the city and the county, and for whatever reason things didn't go forward," Gore said. "But if we're going to survive, (it's going to take) all of us. One thing I like to say is that 22,000 of us may live in the city of Marysville, but all 52,000 of us live in Union County."

The initial discussion, held May 26 at the commissioners' offices, identified potential areas for consolidation or cooperation among the county, city and school district, such as bulk purchasing, safety services, storage space for things like road salt, pooling information-technology services or personnel, records management, training, insurance plans, consolidating parks maintenance or activities and other areas.

Commissioner Gary Lee said the three groups might be able to work together to reduce costs and that Union County residents should be commended for the general spirit of cooperation they already have.

"I don't think enough credit's been given to our community for the years we've already been doing regionalization and consolidation of services," he said. "As I deal with other commissioners from across the state, they are astounded at the level of cooperation and shared services that we already have here."

Since at least 2005, Union County has participated in several partnerships countywide and statewide in an effort to reduce costs. Some of those include involvement with the Tri-County Jail; membership in the Logan-Union-Champaign Regional Planning Commission, shared building-inspection contracts with Marysville, Richwood, Milford Center and Plain City; 911 dispatching for the townships and villages; a shared county-city economic development director; roadwork for seven townships conducted by the county engineer's office with the townships sharing in expenses and several other programs.

"The important thing is that we have these discussions and see where they lead," commissioner Steve Stolte said.

Gore said the city would take point on scheduling times and places for future meetings on consolidating services and where specific departments could be involved to come up with ways some plans could be implemented.