Year of Publication



Martin School of Public Policy and Administration

Date Available


Degree Name

Master of Public Financial Management

Committee Chair

Dr. Rhonda Trautman

Executive Summary

In recent history, the most common attempt at reorganization of government in a metropolitan area is the city-county consolidation model. With limited government resources, elected officials along with community members look to this model to make the best use of those resources. “Applied to local government, the term ‘‘consolidation’’ is generally understood to mean the structural merging of two or more governments into one. When a city and county consolidate, a new and different form of local government is created that has elements of both city and county government but is neither.” (Martin, 2011) There are both benefits and problems that arise from these kinds of propositions for consolidating or merging local governments and studying the history of existing merged governments helps answer the question of whether this is a viable option for Warren County and Bowling Green, KY. Because there are many things to consider, such as the fear of change for the citizens, uncertainty of the process, each side advocating for their own political views, legal issues, and the need for a high level of cooperation and acceptance, there will be no statistically correct answer in favor of or against a city-county merger. The research approach I am utilizing is qualitative. The type of design is a case study approach using descriptive research methods. This paper is a study of the subject of merged governments, having collected data using a variety of sources, and focusing on gaining a complete understanding of the issue. The descriptive design helps the reader to understand the information that has been gathered, analyzed, and presented in the paper. The goal of this paper is to present facts about the process of merging city and county governments, the potential benefits, and problems, and to list the steps if Warren County and Bowling Green, KY decide to begin this process. This paper is not a place for me to advocate for one side or the other of the question, but to provide facts that could help the local leadership decide. To answer the question above, articles and resources that give the advantages and disadvantages of merged governments and what steps government leaders should take to accomplish a consolidation were investigated. I will show examples of both successful and unsuccessful merged governments, list best practices for merged governments, and what steps to take for those who are considering a merger. Finally, I will discuss these concepts as they relate to Bowling Green and Warren County, KY.



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