City and County discuss merger - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

City and County discuss merger

October 11, 2002

Albany- Public works, sanitation services, and law enforcement. These are just some of the services both the City of Albany and Dougherty County have of their own, but what would happen to them if the city and county were consolidated?

That's the question that city and county commissioners want to answer. "It won't be the city of Albany as we know it, it won't be Dougherty County as we know it," says Mayor Tommy Coleman.

There is a joint resolution being considered between the two boards to form a study committee to look into consolidation. The committee would consist of nine members; three each, appointed by the city, the county, the general assembly.

"You need to know if you're going to get the same kind of service and save money at the same time. If you do that then that's a very good idea, otherwise you're spinning your tires backwards," explains County Commissioner Jack Stone.

With any consolidation there is the question of job losses, but Mayor Coleman says it's far off there really isn't an issue at this time.

"That's not something that we ought to be concerned with now. We ought to do an unbiased, objective study of the pros and cons of this without going ahead with some preconceived notion about what the government might look like and who's going to have a job and who won't," adds Coleman.

If the study committee doesn't find the union to be a positive move, then some commissioners are considering other possibilities to save money.

"If the evidence shows that consolidation of city county government is not in the best interest at this time, then we could also look at that second component of that which would be the consolidation of services," says City Commissioner Henry Mathis.

Whatever they decide, all the commissioners say consolidation is a long way off.

The resolution is on the Albany City Commission agenda for next Tuesday. The Dougherty County Commission agenda for next week does not contain the resolution, but rather a report is expected from the County Attorney on the laws on consolidating city and county governments. The process once started could take years.

Posted at 5:35 PM by elaine.armstrong@walb.com