Locals React to Consolidation

By: Stephanie Baker
By: Stephanie Baker

September 21, 2005
Last night commissioners voted to move forward on combining Martinez and Evans into a city and consolidating them with the Columbia County government.

People in Martinez and Evans have mixed feelings. Some are happy because it will bring in more federal money. Others think things are fine the way they are. One thing that most of them have in common, they are concerned because they don’t fully understand what this means for them and their families.

Evans resident Dwight Baggett thinks this is all a little sudden.

“I think you may be pushing the issue doing the consolidation and incorporation at the same time,” Baggett said.

He lives in Evans with his wife and 16-year-old daughter. He is concerned about how this may affect his family. He says he would feel better if this happened a little slower so he could learn more about it.

“Just phase it in over a time instead of running it together at once,” Baggett said.

Also, the Columbia County arena is taking a backseat to this project. Dwight thinks this is a good thing.

“I don’t think that the arena would be good for Columbia County right now,” Baggett said.

People who live in Martinez are also undecided on this issue. Many of them say they don’t have enough information to have an opinion about this issue.

Martinez resident Tim Reeve says he would support it if it would improve the area, but he doesn’t have all the facts.

“What you read in the paper and radio reports doesn’t have all the information about how this would affect me, my family, my neighborhood, my schools, the future of my children,” Reeve said.

Dwight Baggett agrees with that.

“I need to gain a little more knowledge of the issues,” Baggett said.

Right now, many in Columbia County are undecided. If this makes it past the Georgia General Assembly in January, people who live in the area will be able to vote on it in a referendum.

The commissioners say nothing will change with the government and with taxes. The only difference is Evans and Martinez will be combined with Columbia County. And they will get a new name for the city.


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