CHATTANOOGA (AP) - Any further effort to merge functions of the Chattanooga and Hamilton County governments is expected to wait until next year.

City Mayor Ron Littlefield told the Chattanooga Times Free Press he expects "an intense six months" as the governments begin discussion on a sales tax agreement that ends in May.

City Council Chairman Manny Rico says it makes sense to merge at least some government departments and says he plans to push the issue at the beginning of the new year.

County Commission Chairman Fred Skillern says he welcomes discussion, but city officials need to come to the county with the idea.

County Mayor Claude Ramsey says he supports consolidating functions where it makes sense.

Information from: Chattanooga Times Free Press, http://www.timesfreepress.com

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