Cornelius considers consolidation

CORNELIUS, NC (WBTV) -Mark Muldrow has been working at Pott's Barber Shop for 14 years.

"That's what I love about being in the small town of Cornelius," he says, grinning as he cuts an elderly man's hair.

So when Muldrow heard that Charlotte Mayor Anthony Foxx wants to take another look at consolidating the governments of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County, he started to worry.

"I think some of the more important things that Cornelius has, they'll do away with," he says.

One of the major complaints about the idea of one centralized government is that small town interests will fall victim to big city ones.

"Most people are used to small towns, and a lot of times when you're in debt, taxes and all that other stuff are going to keep going up," Muldrow says.  He thinks Cornelius will lose some of its simplicity if it joins forces with Charlotte, and he'll end up paying the price.

"Everybody has their own idea of what interests will take over. It just seems to me that you do what's sensible, and that is having one governing board to make decisions," says former Charlotte Mayor Richard Vinroot.

Vinroot tried to merge the county and city back when he was in office, and he says running a region with both city council members and county commissioners is like running a big company with two boards. "It costs more," he says. "It's dysfunctional. One group decides one set of priorities, another decides another. It makes little sense."

Cornelius Commissioner John Bradford doesn't agree.

"I think it's important to us to maintain our autonomy for town government," Bradford says, adding, though, that he's open to discussion.

:There's probably some opportunities that we could explore – consolidation of services," he says. "For example, we've thrown out the idea of consolidating some patrol. We could probably take that over from Charlotte Mecklenburg Police Department. It could save them money. So there may be some opportunities to get economies to scale, but when it comes to government, I think our town is probably going to want to maintain that control."

Says Vinroot: "The truth is, the real reasons are, that there are people elected to positions that like being elected and fear that with one government there won't be as many positions to go around."