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Tifton-Tift County talk consolidation

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By  Stephanie Springer  - bio | email

TIFTON, GA (WALB) - Albany isn't the only south Georgia city where government consolidation is being considered. It's up for debate in Tifton and Tift County too.

Mayor Jamie Cater says consolidation has been attempted in Tifton twice over the past 45 years but both times its failed. Thursday night it will be brought up for the third time.

The idea of a unified government has re-surfaced once again in Tifton, and some folks are ready to hear more about it.

"I would like to hear some more advantages and disadvantages and learn more about the whole consolidation process," said Tifton resident Kyle Rhodes.

" I think any chance of us coming together and this will benefit us as a community and make us stronger as one then I could be all for it," said Kas Asbury.

Thursday night, city and county leaders are encouraging the public to attend a town hall meeting on consolidation. Folks will be able to get all their questions answered by three experts.

"The process now is to get people together to talk about it to discuss it too see what the pros and cons are and iron things out," said Mayor Jamie Cater.

Mayor Jamie Cater says he is looking forward to the meeting because he has questions too.

"Before I say I am backing consolidation I want to see the whole thing, I wanna read it from the first word from the last word because its my job to do what's best for the people," said Cater.

This time the idea was brought by local business owners, and the goal is to simplify things by putting everything under one roof.

"I'm looking forward tonight to talking to the people from Columbus to find out exactly what are the benefits but I can tell you without reservation it doesn't really save money," said Cater.

Cater says consolidation is a long process and he thinks things may be moving a little too fast.

" I think people are a little skittish because it has failed twice and it is hard to manage it and to sell it I and vice mayor Joe Lewis have asked them right off the bat to please move slowly on this," said Cater.

Cater says out of 159 counties in Georgia only five have consolidated governments.

According to the Mayor, if  the meeting goes well officials will and hire consultants to start working on a charter.

That forum is Thursday night at 7:00 at the Leroy Rogers Senior Center on second street.

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