Voters decide not to merge two county jobs

HUNTSVILLE, AL (WAFF) - The votes are in and the people have spoken. Residents voted down a proposal to merge the tax collector and tax assessor jobs.  The new position would have been called the county revenue commissioner.

With 98.95 percent of the ballots counted, the vote was 6,352 against the proposal and 3,908 for it. There were 10,260 votes cast out of more than 233,000 registered voters in Madison County.

Voters at Trinity United Methodist Church in Huntsville shared their opinions on why they did or did not vote in favor of the merge.

"I did vote to combine the two offices," said Paul Dozier.

Supporters of the merger, like Dozier said it's all about increasing efficiency and saving taxpayers money.

"We definitely need probably some cost savings because government is getting extremely expensive," he said.

Voter Carl Harris agrees with Dozier.

"I think the offices should be combined," he said.  "I think most government organizations are too big and this will give us a chance to make it a little smaller."

Those against it feel combining the offices would result in loss of checks and balances.

"By consolidating it in to very few people's hands, that's the point that everybody needs to get out and vote for this," said Rosalind McDermott.  "They should vote no on this because we don't need fewer people having control of the money."

Judy Thornberry says she can see both sides of the argument, but ultimately she says if it isn't broken, don't fix it.

"It would be best to keep it the way it is," she said.  "I think that they need both of them and not consolidate."

Tuesday's special election cost taxpayers more that $300,000.

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