MILLEDGEVILLE — <p> The members of the city council and county commission met at CGTC recently to listen to a brief from the Vinson Institute regarding the issues of unification of the city and county. It was clear to all that neither group was at all interested in finding ways by which unification might prove advantageous to our community. Only one commissioner asked questions of the experts from Athens that would have explained the positive aspects of unification. Instead the questions were all negatively biased.<br /> "I don't want to hear anything more about Athens/Clark County unification" was the comment from one member. Interesting that that person would not have inquired about the issues Athens faced and the successes they achieved. Another comment from an elected official, equally narrow: "Well, if there are only 39 instances of unification around the United States this could hardly be something that is successful because if it was there would be more instances of this occurring." Of course, what that individual failed to recognize is that Georgia is somewhat unique with its 159 counties many, if not most, of which have only one resident city. Thus, it is hardly a surprise that Georgia leads the nation in the number of unifications. Clearly, many communities in Georgia have recognized the potential value of unifying the city and county governments. It was noteworthy that the officials focused on the potential benefits accruing from cooperation among the various services that the city and county provide. Of course, it is equally noteworthy that, over the years, there has been nothing but dissension and non-cooperation between the two governments. One has to wonder what magic both groups would intend to create that would ensure that a "new era of cooperation" will occur. Further, it was instructive at the meeting to note that most of the officials had not read the revised unification charter, yet rendered comments that were embarrassing to the degree that their ignorance of the revised charter was apparent.<br /> Whether we as a community are in favor of (or against) unification of the city and county governments is an issue that we should be allowed to vote on. There are, unfortunately, several members of these elected bodies who believe that they are so much more aware of what our community should become that they do not wish us to provide them with our opinions. This smacks of extraordinary egoism, desire for power, or whatever other descript you wish to apply. Certainly, it is not consistent with the concepts on which our country was founded and on which it continues to function. I should point out that the principal reason that this group may not wish to unify the governments is that one half of them will lose the perquisites that are afforded them: salaries, insurance, retirement, travel, etc. It is important as well to include the doubling of costs associated with the two water departments, the two communications systems, the two fire departments, other doubled associated administrative costs (secretaries, file clerks, etc.), the police/sheriff organizations, the city and county jails and the list goes on. On the other hand, Athens/Clarke County in an earlier briefing opined that the addition of franchise fees from various entities (e.g., Windstream, Charter, etc. which more than doubled when unification occurred) essentially covered the cost of unification. It is true that money will not be saved initially if unification were to occur since it has been agreed that no person would lose their job but the positions would be eliminated through retirement so, the process would take some time before real savings would occur. On the other hand, consolidation of the various services (now separate) would vastly improve safety and cost effectiveness. One final point the growth of our economy is hindered by having two political entities that do not cooperate. I believe that the citizens of this community should be allowed to vote on the issue of unification. For the elected officials who believe otherwise, you should rise above your narrow interests and recognize your obligation to properly exercise the responsibilities that you were elected to perform.<br /> <br /> Maj. Gen. Peter Boylan (Ret.)<br /> Milledgeville</p>
QUEEN: Visitors compliment CVB employees
My wife and I were visiting Milledgeville last week and decided to take the historical trolley tour, which started at the Convention & Visitors Bureau.
BARNES: Local voices displeasure with Kidd
It is disappointing to hear that Rep. Kidd has interjected himself in local politics by forming a consolidation committee.
GRIFFITH: Citizen questions Kidd's committee
I read Rep. Kidd's lengthy article in the March 29-31 edition of the Union-Recorder about providing the community with the information needed to make an educated decision about the consolidation of city/county governments.
SINCLAIR: Local discusses international health care experience
My wife CC and I were recently down under in Australia visiting family and friends.
KENT: City resident challenges 'rich' label
I am not “rich people.”
RICKMAN: Fair coordinator thanks contributors
On Feb. 6, Middle Georgia CARE-NET, a collaborative of The Rosalynn Carter Institute for Caregiving, held a care fair at the First Baptist Church of Milledgeville
SMITH: Wreck survivor praises firemen
About a year ago I was in an almost fatal wreck.
Family urges focused community unity
Both my wife CC and I have become more and more concerned during recent times of the division that appears to be developing among members of our community.
SPEAR: Daughter expresses thanks
I would like to thank everyone for their thoughts, prayers, visits, phone calls, cards, flowers and food during the loss of my mom, Louise Lyles.
WIGGINS: City and county resident talks unification
As a long time resident of Milledgeville, my work has afforded me a pleasant life.
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