Viewpoint: Consolidation could help budgets - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Viewpoint: Consolidation could help budgets

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We hope Commissioners will finally allow voters to decide the City/County Consolidation issue, as one obvious answer to our budget shortfall.

The City now struggles with financial problems, which may mean a 1.33 mil tax increase for property owners. City Manager James Taylor says he can balance the budget without a tax increase, but they must find $2 million somewhere else to do that.

Even city leaders, including our new Mayor, agree with us, they should not be subsidizing our budget with MEAG dollars. Those dollars expire in 2018, creating a $3 million annual shortfall.

Ward 4 commissioner Roger Marietta suggests a task force to consider eliminating duplication of services. This study has been completed for years!!!

Beginning in 2003, two study commissions spent years and thousands of dollars looking into the savings of combining Albany and Dougherty County governments and services and decided it should go to the voters.

Duplications were clearly identified in: finance, information technology, procurement, human resources, fleet maintenance, and police departments.

Again in 2008, the Dougherty County Grand Jury was unanimous among the 23 community representatives, in public presentments, saying:

"The citizens of Dougherty County have the right and are qualified to determine the form of government that will represent them now and in the future".

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

But then the vote of a few arrogant Commissioners' , completely dismissed all these efforts. Commissioners attempted to give an explanation for their vote to the media. One even said that: you the voters, are not bright enough to understand the complexities of the charter issue. Don't you believe that for a minute…

Let's remind them, that in recent years, one City Commissioner went to prison and one County Commissioner pled guilty to theft by taking.

If the voters are wise enough to keep themselves out of prison, they are wise enough to vote on consolidation.

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