October 21, 2014

Medina
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Ohio auditor wants to make it easier to merge counties

COLUMBUS — Ohio could wind up with fewer than its current 88 counties under a money-saving idea from the state auditor.

Auditor Dave Yost this week told an Ohio Senate panel that making it easier for counties to merge would cut costs through the consolidation of offices and services.

The Columbus Dispatch reported Yost told reporters after his testimony that the state has had 88 counties for a long time but there’s nothing “magic” about the number. He says state budget cuts might lead neighboring counties to decide it would make financial sense to combine and have one prosecutor and one sheriff.

His plan would give voters greater rights to start petition drives toward merging two or more counties. It also would give local officials more power to merge townships.