One Lenawee explained to Morenci city council 8.04.2010

Written by David Green.

By DAVID GREEN

Lenawee County can become a stronger, better functioning unit when the various governmental components work together.

That’s the philosophy of One Lenawee, an offshoot of the Lenawee Economic Development Corporation.

Three representatives of One Lenawee attended the July 26 Morenci city council meeting to talk about the organization.

“We’re not asking for anything but a little cooperation,” said Allan Brittain.

Brittain said the organization consists of a group of volunteers who have looked at the county’s assets—governments, schools, etc.—and thought about what could be shared to make the county a better place to live.

At that point Brittain talked about what the group is not. When members have talked to the various government units in the area, they’ve sometimes encountered an incorrect concept that One Lenawee is an effort to form a single, county-wide government.

The group encourages collaboration between government units, he said, but there is no intention of doing away with township and community boards and councils.

The effort began after a meeting with the author of a book about “asset mapping,” Brittain said.

First identify the assets of a community, then look at how they might be shared with another.

“You find out that if you connect this asset with that asset, you accomplish a lot more together than you would separately,” Brittain said.

The group is working with the Citizens Research Council of Michigan and the University of Michigan’s Gerald Ford School of Public Policy to collect and evaluate data. Graduate students are scheduled to interview public officials  throughout the county this fall to collect information about the costs of operating services, problems encountered in delivering services, ideas for solving problems, etc.

The interview team also has an interest in examining existing collaborative and shared services.

“What’s in it for you?” Brittain asked. “The same thing that’s in it for all of us. If we make the county a better place to live and grow, then I think we all win.”

Brittain is with the arm of One Lenawee working on government collaboration. Other areas include education, marketing, the arts and agriculture. Anyone is welcome to attend meetings and participate in the group’s efforts.

• For more information, visit the group’s website at www.onelenawee.org.

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