Viewpoint: Consolidation idea isn't new

Can you believe some elected officials said they felt blind-sided by the new house bill for the consolidation of Albany & Dougherty County?

They have had years to address this important issue. Some of them said it was not on their agenda, even their radar.

How out of touch can they be?

Every single business is going thru restructuring and the consolidating of jobs, to save money and work more efficiently...citizens are screaming about the increase in crime, and why our police departments are not more cooperative and effective.

Beginning in 2003, two study commissions spent years and thousands of dollars looking into the pros and cons of combining Albany and Dougherty County governments and services. They recommended the process keep moving so eventually voters could have a say-so.

Some commissions don't want you to have a voice. You should ask them why?

Citizens spoke again in 2008. The Dougherty County Grand Jury stated in their public presentments: the voters should have the right to determine, on their own, their versions of self rule; steps are currently in place to allow and to protect their rights as citizens of Albany and Dougherty County to ultimately determine the form of government that they so choose.

Further delays by either the City or County commissions are not acceptable, and we recommend that both bodies give their full and immediate support to the process. In addition, we recommend that they schedule forums to educate citizens fully regarding the consolidation process.

Yesterday the Chamber representing all our local businesses, voted to support out right to vote on this issue.

Most citizens we interviewed this week about the issue, are clear- they want the right to vote.

#1 "I think the people should be able to vote on it."

#2 "The people's opinion should count."

#3 "Most people are concerned about the city, & what goes on, trying to get involved and stay involved, and I think we should have a say."

If some, we elected, are against consolidation, fine. They can explain to voters why they think it's a bad idea. But to keep tens of thousands of Dougherty County voters from having the chance to decide how our government, the government we pay for, should operate is just inexcusable.