Lowndes County to vote on Commission expansion - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Lowndes County to vote on Commission expansion

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By Robin Jedlicka - bio | email

LOWNDES COUNTY, GA (WALB) - It's hard to dispute that the four people on the Lowndes County Board of Commissioners have a heavy load on their shoulders.

"There's four people looking at a 100 million dollar budget, looking at one hundred-and-something-thousand constituents. I think we could do a better job with staying in touch with our constituents," says Ashley Paulk, Chairman of the Board of Commissioners.  

On Tuesday, Governor Sonny Perdue signed House Bill 756, approving the voters of Lowndes County to decide if the commission should add two commissioners.

Paulk says, "I think there's a lot of interest because when I campaigned for this job, that was the primary thing I got asked: 'Will you expand the commission?'"

Currently, the county is divided into three districts, each with its own voting commissioner.  The board wants to divide the county in half, by east and west, and also have commissioners to represent these two super districts.

"So, essentially, it gives you two commissioners to each district, plus your chairman," explains Paulk. 

While some may be hesitant to bring on more commissioners, the Chamber of Commerce is backing the expansion, saying more representation would mean more expertise is being brought to the table.

Paula Goff of the Lowndes Chamber of Commerce says, "In today's climate, all of us are wanting someone we feel that we can go to with our concerns.  Businesses are definitely having concerns."

While getting the governor's approval was certainly a large step for the expansion, it still has a long way to go.  It must be approved by the Department of Justice, and then it will be placed in the hands of voters, possibly as soon as November.

Regardless of whether the commission grows, Lowndes County is expected to continue to growing for years to come.

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