Come to table to discuss Newton merger

We always support regionalized efforts and encourage in-depth discussions of this topic among communities — especially when they are contiguous. That’s because not only do we believe sharing services is a smart, economical way to save taxpayer dollars, but we believe residents also really want good essential services to be provided efficiently.

Now, it’s no secret that there have been disagreements in philosophy and operations from time to time between Newton Falls and Newton Township. Among the biggest differences may be the fact that Newton Falls, an incorporated municipality, enforces an income tax from its residents — something neighboring Newton Township does not.

That’s why some township residents and elected officials were quick to speak out in opposition of a recent suggestion by village officials that the two should look closely at a possible merger.

But Newton Falls Mayor Lyle Waddell, believes a merger can mean better economic development for all involved. As he sees it, a merger would provide more land for attracting business and creating jobs. He and Councilman at-Large Tarry Alberini also have argued it could pave the way for expanding utilities into some of the undeveloped areas of rural Newton Township.

So far, Newton Township trustees are wary, saying if expanding utilities is the issue, it wouldn’t be an easy process, largely because the area is so sparsely populated with many residents living very far outside the village. Newton Township Trustee Chairman John Nemet says that would make extension of utility lines very costly. Nemet also pointed out that many residents would oppose the additional income tax.

We see both sides of these arguments, but frankly, we frown on a quick negative reaction before any in-depth communications are held on the idea. We wonder what’s the harm in sitting down to explore it?

We believe leaders in the two communities should put aside their differences and delve deeply into talks and shared ideas. They must remain open minded and look for the potential of improved efficiencies and economic growth.

When it comes to saving taxpayer money, don’t elected officials owe it to their constituents to at least come to the table?