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The Progress Home >> Tuesday, October 9, 2012 - Ferguson, Lumber City consider merging

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Ferguson, Lumber City consider merging
Tuesday, October 9, 2012
By Jane Elling Correspondent
FERGUSON TOWNSHIP - A special hour-long meeting was held last night at the Ferguson Township building with state officials and supervisors and secretary plus the Lumber City Mayor and board members to discuss a merger of the two communities. The approximate populations are 410 for Ferguson Township and 82 for Lumber City.
Ed Fosnaught, local government specialist, and Donna Rupert, peer consultant, both from the state Department of Community and Economic Development, discussed the action with Lloyd Harnish, chairman; Don Sheeder and Scott Blackburn, supervisors, secretary Betty Lou Stumph and Lumber City Mayor John Johnston, and Greg Hipps, president, plus other citizens and council members.
Rupert took notes of the discussion and will prepare information for the next meeting that will be held possibly in December. She has worked with many communities wanting to merge, and Fosnaught said in the beginning discussion that the state encourages municipalities merging. After discussion and questions are answered there will be a vote by the citizens of each municipality and the vote must be a majority in both.
They talked about the good and bad points of a merger and this included fire protection, noting both Ferguson and Lumber City depend on fire departments in adjoining communities. Hipps said their general fund budget is $19,000, assets and liabilities of the two plus insurances were discussed. After the merger the ordinances of Ferguson will cover Lumber City and the name will be Ferguson. This brought up the statement of the longtime history of Lumber City that would disappear.
The question was asked on "What is the strong plus for a merger?"
Hipps and Johnston said there will be four miles of roads to care for and liquid fuel funds can be used, taxes will amount to $20,000, and they currently have $10,000 in the general fund. They said the citizens are in favor of the merger noting because of finances, "We can't hang on like we are now." Statements included Lumber City having a water association but it is all private and both communities are part of the same school district. They have had minimal growth in the last 10 years but have had no sewage problems. A decision would have to be made on whether to have one of two precincts for voters but it was stated it's hard to get citizens to volunteer at the polls.
It was stated that the action cannot be seen as a complicated measure.
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