Mayor Graham Richard today called for government leaders to come together to make local government work better for residents.

The Indiana General Assembly recently passed House Bill 1362, which provides local government with an opportunity to develop plans for consolidation and coordination of local services without the need for state legislature approval.

Mayor Richard described his support for the creation of one elected chief countywide executive and one elected legislative body.

“This approach will lead to improved economic competitiveness, a more efficient and effective government structure and a better opportunity to retain and gain jobs,” said Mayor Richard. “Consolidation is one important element of building a system of improved services.”

Mayor Richard encouraged the Fort Wayne City Council and Allen County Commissioners to form a committee, allowed under state statute, to begin the formal process of developing a service improvement and consolidation plan for local government.

“The discussion about consolidation needs to be open and thorough. Public discussion is vital. People from all parts of our community must be represented,” said Mayor Richard. “Any plan would require public approval. This should be done through a single countywide referendum with a simple majority needed for approval.”

To further encourage the discussion about service improvements and consolidation, Mayor Richard announced the City will take action now to freeze future annexations beyond those in process. This policy will continue while community discussions are on-going.

Mayor Richard today will send a letter to members of City Council, the Allen County Board of Commissioners and the Allen County Council detailing his views on service improvements and consolidated government.