ALBANY, GA (WALB) – Last week, the Senate has the first reading on SB 538, on Albany and Dougherty County consolidation.
It then goes to the House, where our local delegation should guide it through for the Governor's signature. Then after all the years of discussion, the voters can decide this important matter in November for themselves.
Commissioner Tommy Postell, has said we are rushing this process to fast. Actually, we had two study commissions spending years and thousands of dollars looking into the pros and cons of combining City and County governments and services.
They recommended the process keep moving, so voters could have a say-so.
Together both groups provided eleven opportunities for the public to make comments and offer suggestions at well advertised forums.
Mr. Postell,also said consolidation will dilute black voting strength. What is he thinking? This is simply not possible. Albany and Dougherty County are both over 60% Black.
Five of the new 8 districts, proposed by the charter, have a majority of black voters.
There has certainly been no hurry to action, and diluting votes is not possible.
This is not a black vs white issue, You need look no further than the need for a consolidated City / County police force, improving public safety, to seriously consider this decision.
Some commissioners seem more concerned about the reduction in the total number of commissioners, in the new government. We think among other positive changes, a smaller, more effective number of commissioners, would be a welcome change.
Let's remind them that we have had one City Commissioner sent to prison and one County Commissioner pleading guilty to theft by taking.
If the voters are wise enough to keep themselves out of prison, they are certainly wise enough to vote on consolidation.