Lenoir County, Kinston consider merging certain services

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Kinston, N.C. (WNCT)- Some city and county leaders are looking at options to save money.

Officials want to take a close look at how combining services could impact residents, jobs and the communities they serve. Discussions are happening between the county board and the City of Kinston.

A special meeting was held between the Kinston City Council and the Lenoir County Board of Commissioners for the purpose of discussing potential consolidation of certain city and county services.

“We lost revenue in re-evaluation of 270 million dollars of value,” said Craig Hill, Lenoir County Board of Commissioners, “so it’s important we look at the importance of efficiency at the highest level we possible can find. Combining services may be one of the ways we can do this.”

The city and county are not just looking at combing the planning and inspection departments. Merging the Lenoir County Sheriff’s Office and the Kinston Police Department is also being considered.

This meeting is just the beginning of a study that will look at the pros and cons of merging various services. The meeting had no set agenda. Officials discussed how this idea could save money by lowering taxes and bring service efficiency to several communities. However, the issue of dissolving and contracting new departments could result in job losses.

“Everybody is afraid with jobs scarce in the government. No one wants to lose their jobs,” said Robert Swinson IV, Kinston City Council member, “so we want to make sure everyone feels comfortable and we’re doing everything in the best interest for our workers and our community.”

Officials say this is the just beginning of many meetings before a decision will be made.

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