Local government officials battling it out for your vote on cons - 14 News, WFIE, Evansville, Henderson, Owensboro

Local government officials battling it out for your vote on consolidation

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To merge or not to merge?

With just two days until Election Day, those on both sides of the consolidation issue are making one last plea for your vote.

The consolidation decision is one that many people are calling the most important in Evansville's recent history. And Sunday, both sides of the argument voiced their highly opposing views of the issue.

"We want to take this opportunity to encourage people, who have not yet voted, to vote 'Yes' for unification," said Mayor Lloyd Winnecke.

Sunday, at a Civic Center news conference, Mayor Winnecke and Vanderburgh County Sheriff Eric Williams made one last effort to gain votes, in favor of consolidation.

"This is the basic blueprint to really set ourselves, our community, up for long-term success, for generations to come," Winnecke said.

"There are plenty of studies out there that show a lot of those communities that have been out there, that have consolidated, have unified have been more successful at controlling the rate at which their taxes go up, in many cases reducing taxes," said Sheriff Williams. "They've been much more successful in attracting businesses. They've been much more successful in getting grant money from both the state and federal governments. It just seems to make sense to us that this is a plan that best positions our community to compete on a global market."

Despite the Mayor and Sheriff's encouraging remarks, there are those who don't think consolidation is a good idea.

"We get less representation, we get higher taxes, and we get more power in the Mayor's Office," said Bruce Ungethiem with C.O.R.E. 

Ungethiem, of the 'Citizens Opposed to Reorganization in Evansville' says consolidation has been tried and failed in places like Louisville and Indianapolis. And he believes the Mayor's push for consolidation is a power-play.

"This plan was developed to consolidate power and the Mayor's Office, and to give him ultimate control over the whole county. And we just don't think that's the right thing to do," Ungethiem said.

"There are so many misnomers out there that have been spread about this effort that, in many cases, they're just scare tactics to try and scare people away from voting for progress," Mayor Winnecke said.

Ungethiem says the organization is not opposed to making government more efficient, they're just opposed to this plan specifically.

And all of those we spoke to Sunday say everyone needs to take a look at the consolidation plan, and decide for themselves.

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