Thomson, Carlton explore merger optionResidents of Thomson and Carlton turned out last Thursday to discuss the collective future of their communities, including a possible merger down the line.
By: Wendy Johnson, Pine Journal
Residents of Thomson and Carlton turned out last Thursday to discuss the collective future of their communities, including a possible merger down the line.
“I thought the visioning session went well,” commented facilitator Andy Hubley, regional planning director of the Arrowhead Regional Development Commission (ARDC). “It was relatively well attended and in general there was a positive spirit from residents of both communities.”
Though the city of Carlton first proposed discussion of a merger several years ago, Thomson declined up until last winter after suffering years of Local Government Aid cuts and devastating losses from last summer’s flood.
Now, the adjoining communities have launched a series of “visioning” sessions to consider how they can share resources without losing their individual character.
“It is clear that people want the Carlton/Thomson area to retain its small town character while seeking improvements in some aspects,” said Hubley. “These included infrastructure, economics, and community facilities, among others.”
Hubley added that the idea of merging two cities was discussed and many questions were posed.
“Community leaders were able to answer some of the questions, particularly those about the merger process and reasons for looking at the merger initially,” related Hubley. “Other questions were documented and will have to be addressed after research occurs.”
ARDC is now developing a full meeting summary of last Thursday’s session, which it will provide to both Thomson and Carlton sometime next week.
“My perception was that the majority of the attendees were in favor of at least continuing to study merging and developing more details of what impacts the merger would have,” summed up Hubley.
If both cities agree to move forward with the proposed merger, a formal public hearing will be held and both city councils would have to pass resolutions supporting it before the measure can be placed on this November’s election ballot.