Possible merger in Worth County - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Possible merger in Worth County

October 28, 2002

WORTH CO. - For Worth County residents, the chances of having your home saved from destruction by a fire depend on where you live. Worth County is one of the state's largest by area, 46 miles long and 22 miles wide. But the only two full-time manned fire stations are just three blocks apart.

It takes the fire engine coming from the county fire department in Sylvester longer to get to someplace like Sumner, than it does for the Sylvester fire department to respond to a fire in the city.

"By placing manned substations in the county we'd cut response times considerably," Sylvester Fire Chief Tommy Marchman said.

City and county leaders are considering merging the two departments, then moving the county station out into the county somewhere in the Sumner area.

"It would be advantageous to the county as far as fire protection."

Better fire protection is the main goal for homeowners in the eastern Part of Worth County, but it also could put more money in their pockets, lowering insurance rates. At Worth Insurance Agency, agents are excited about the prospect, already crunching the numbers.

"Somewhere in neigborhood of 35 percent rates would be reduced on homeowners insurance," Ridley Monk said.

Also important, Sylvester's chief says city services would not be sacraficed, nor any jobs cut.

"Feel we could do the merger without jeopardizing the rating we have for the city now," Marchman said.

"It looks like a win-win situation to me,"  But it's still far from a done deal, the County Administrator says there are many things to consider including the economics of the deal, and a careful balancing act between homeowners on the county's East and West sides. 

No vote was taken at the last County Commission meeting when the matter was discussed, and so far it has not been put on the next meeting's agenda. Comissioners are considering letting voters decide on the issue by referendum.

posted at 6:15 p.m. by dave.d'marko@walb.com

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