Charleston's proposal for "Governing in the 21st Century" has not been received warmly in northern West Virginia.

Officials who have been appointed to a committee have been meeting with officials promoting the idea of merging and consolidating towns and counties.

The promise of consolidation is that it would provide more efficient and less costly government.

Unfortunately, there is little evidence that merging and consolidating has saved taxpayers money.

State Sen. Brooks McCabe, D-Kanawha, and members of the committee have been traveling the state trying to gather city and county officials' support for a plan proposed by Gov. Bob Wise.

McCabe has focused his efforts on "growth areas."

Although the idea would allow smaller, rural counties to merge, McCabe has focused his efforts on urging "growth areas" of the state to participate.

With higher populations, cities and counties could get more federal funds and save money by streamlining government, he contends.

"What would your market look like if Morgantown, Westover and Star City merged, and Monongalia, Marion and Harrison merge into a single county?" McCabe told The Dominion Post. "You would have a 'super-county' and three cities in the counties with 50,000 or more population. That would be a powerhouse."

Several years ago West Virginia voters turned down a ballot imitative to allow county consolidation.

Larger counties desire that small rural counties join them, although small rural counties could band together to create their own "growth area."