Government Debates Consolidation

By: Stephanie Baker
By: Stephanie Baker

September 22, 2005
Columbia County fights for its new identity. The Board of Commissioners met with elected officials Thursday to get their ideas on consolidation and incorporation. News 12 is on your side with a look at why commissioners say becoming a city can generate more money.

They met for lunch to talk about what consolidation and incorporation means for them. Commissioner Chairman Ron Cross says he wants to assure all the elected officials, like the tax commissioner, district attorney and sheriff, to name a few, that their jobs are safe.

“Today we’re going to explain that our attempt to incorporate and consolidate will have no effect on them because they are elected officials,” Cross said.

Sheriff Clay Whittle is on board with the plan. He says Columbia County is growing facts and should be a city.

“Some point down the road, ten, twenty, thirty years from now, Columbia County may be the center of the population for the CSRA,” Whittle said.

After they had lunch, they sat down to watch a PowerPoint presentation on a mini laptop. Management Services Director Todd Glover assured them the government would be run the same way it is now. The main difference is it would give them more recognition and more funding.

Commissioner Diane Ford says they need to get the facts out in the open.

“We always need to talk to our constitutional officials and elected officials and have an open dialog with them,” Ford said.

The biggest issue right now is getting the message out to people who live in the area. Sheriff Whittle says support is important because Columbia County will get more funding as a city.

“The bulk of your funding is going to go where the largest identifiable city is in the region,” Whittle said.

Columbia is growing fast, but it can’t get the funding unless it becomes a city. Right now, a few strongly support the plan, but many others still have a lot of questions. A big concern at the meeting is the new name. They want to preserve their identity as Columbia County, and they are trying to find a name that will help them to do that. If you have any ideas for a new name for a consolidated Columbia county, email them to Stephanie.baker@wrdw.com.


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