Wise, old, honest Abe famously said of the United States, “A house divided against itself cannot stand.” At the time, our 16th president was speaking of the Civil War, the great conflict that was turning father against son and brother against brother, slowly killing our great nation from the inside out.
Abe’s words ring true to us about the relationship between the City of Marshall and Harrison County Commission. We are proud of these two institutions and think those in leadership in each do their respective positions well – as long as their interaction with each other is at a minimum. It seems whenever the two have to work with one another, there is often a dust up on the issue. For a number of years, we have heard both sides complain about the other not helping or paying their fair share. The animal shelter and the Marshall Public Library come to mind with the most discussion. The County is to be commended for stepping up and giving additional dollars to the library over the past couple of years.
Recently, the county has had the upper hand forcing interlocal agreements on the city.
Most often, this has come in the form of the county demanding interlocal agreements for procedures that had been conducted independently for years. In 2016, the county removed one of Marshall’s most helpful labor sources, Harrison County Inmates, until an official interlocal agreement could be reached. This was done despite the porcess having been overseen for years by the Harrison County Sheriff and Marshall’s Director of Support Services.
The following year, the county felt in late October it needed to stretch its micro-managing interlocal agreements into the Wonderland of Lights, pushing city workers to work a very tight deadline to insure Wonderland of Lights could live up to its name for its opening.
The county insists their efforts are for the betterment of everyone, insuring safety and supervision, but it comes off as power-plays to work its extensive muscle over the city and insure everyone knows who is really in charge.
The county commissioners were not happy at the last meeting as they approved several interlocal agreements with the city feeling the city was not equally carrying the load. Jay Ebarb feels the interlocal agreements are good for the city, not the county with the county residents not getting their fair share of services from the city. He wants a level playing field between the two public bodies. We do agree it is time to sit down and find a way to work together. The city wants more help/money from the county as they say county residents are using city services without paying anything.
Our hope is that both the county and the city find a way to work together to the benefit of its residents and cease these constant battles that create ill feeling between the public bodies. It’s a civil war we will all lose.