A study conducted by the Washington Economics Group, Inc. (WEG) for the Greater Tallahassee Chamber of Commerce concludes that “effective” government consolidation could result in increased economic performance for Leon County.
In November 2017, the TalChamber Board of Directors voted to commission an independent study on the possible consolidation of Tallahassee and Leon County governments.
The need for a stronger economy and challenging times in the community were cited by the Chamber Board as some of the major impetus to actively consider a structural change in local government
The study focuses on five comparison cities to draw observations about the potential economic development impacts of a merger government in Tallahassee and Leon County. The cities used for this comparative analysis are:
1) Nashville, TN
2) Jacksonville, FL
3) Indianapolis, IN
4) Athens, GA, and
5) Louisville, KY
The study found that each city has experienced various economic benefits since residents chose to consolidate their local governments. Shared benefits across all of these comparative cities include the mitigation of urban sprawl, fiscal efficiencies, and improved business climates.
The cities selected were based on roughly similar socioeconomic characteristics to Tallahassee.
Each city features unique governance models that have been crafted by engaged citizens in an effort to create a better government that generates a more prosperous community.
Consolidation efforts across the country have made many promises, but as the WEG study highlights, the most frequently reliable outcome for successfully consolidated governments has been higher performing economic development efforts.
Of the five comparative consolidated city governments included in the WEG study, they have an average employment and population growth that has exceeded the national average over the past five years. The average employment growth in those
cities exceeds the Tallahassee-Leon County growth rate by nearly four percent.
The study projects that over five years Leon County consolidation could add an approximately 8,000 jobs with a growth in income of $335 million.