Collaboration Between County and City/Towns
The governments of Delaware County and the City of Muncie, town of Yorktown, and other surrounding towns have not had an optimal relationship for some time. The relationship between the Muncie and County governments has been particularly strained with blame flowing both ways. While that might not be fun for the members of those entities, the people who suffer most from the disconnect are the residents of our city and towns.
There has been some recent hint that there is hope for a better working relationship, but that seems more to be the case because now both are lead by the same party. That leads more toward self-congratulatory behavior than true engagement where both sides must creatively delve deeply into the possibilities for partnership beneficial to all constituencies.
I believe city, town, and county councils should regularly attend each other’s meetings and engage in the business at hand. Familiarizing oneself with one's counterpart’s business allows the familiarity needed to gain better understanding. I would then call for quarterly retreats between the city and county councils to invite experts in the major topics of the time and search for solutions that save money, increase services, and empower all sectors of the community. (Major discussion points and opportunities for partnership from these retreats would be reported publicly.) That will not only benefit both the city and county through policy, but also through relationships. While Muncie is the largest single city in Delaware County, this process should also be adapted for the other towns in the county as county government must serve to benefit its constituents and that can best happen working in tandem with the individual city and town governments within Delaware County.
Collaborative Ideas to Explore:
Quarterly meetings between City and County Councils to discuss budget priorities and look for opportunities to partner on services and link programs
Collaborative Effort between the county tax sale process and city programs like the Pocket Park Program to work together to beautify neighborhoods and strengthen communities