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Studying more ways to share services a good idea

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Do we really need so many layers of government services? A new study aims to find out. The Wisconsin Policy Forum will conduct a study of whether it makes sense for governments in La Crosse County to consolidate some of their services. The focus of the study will be fire and EMS services. Leaders of five area fire departments and other government agencies met last week to begin the process. It makes sense for local governments to work to avoid duplication while improving service. Getting there won’t be easy. Local governments have a long history of refusing to cooperate with one another. La Crosse is said to be close to working out a partnership with nearby Shelby. But La Crosse and Onalaska couldn’t even work together to hire the same garbage contractor, even though doing so would have saved money for both communities. Similarly, La Crosse has said no to the sharing of sewer and water services with its neighbors. But it seems there are plenty of places to work together. Does each city in the county need its own police force, and a county sheriff’s office? Do we need separate garbage contracts for every municipality in the county? It seems if we can save money and improve services, then sharing is a good idea. And as they taught us in kindergarten, sharing is caring.

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