This year marks the tenth anniversary of the merger of Elko and New Market into one unified city. Today the long-term residents of the two towns live side by side with new inhabitants, people who came to the area in search of small-town life, but who enjoy the convenience of the nearby suburbs. The population of New Market quadrupled between 2000 and 2004 due to the influx of young professionals settling into the area.
In 2004, the city councils of both towns began to consider the possibility of a merger. Together, the two towns drafted a Cooperation and Combination Plan which laid out the steps they would have to take for the approval and implementation of a merger. This plan was completed and approved by both city councils in January 2006.
The merger plan was detailed, laying out the exact changes in city structure and services that would follow a successful merger. The Cooperation and Combination Plan was especially thorough when it came to development and land use, facilities, services, finances, and governing structure, as these would be the most important elements to consider in a merger.
Even before the merger, Elko and New Market shared several services. Elko contracted with New Market’s fire department and New Market borrowed Elko’s police department. The two towns even shared a sewer system. A successful merger would only compound the symbiotic relationship that existed between the two settlements.
A merger vote was held on March 21, 2006. This was a public vote, open to all citizens of Elko and New Market. The merger was passed with resounding success. In Elko, 213 people voted for the merger, while only 38 voted against, and in New Market the score stood at 224 to 47. The referendum to merge passed.
Once the merger passed, the towns’ administrators had just over nine months to implement the Cooperation and Combination Plan before the towns officially merged on January 1, 2007. The city councils and administrators from both towns came together to form a single interim government in charge of implementing the merger plan.
Today, the unified town of Elko New Market is home to over 4,500 people, long-time natives and new arrivals alike.
To learn more about the histories of Elko and New Market and the merger that brought them together, visit the new exhibit on Elko New Market, opening soon at the Elko New Market Library.
Blog by SCHS Intern: Amanda Roberts