McRae, GA (WALB) - An unusual and historic election today in Telfair County. The cities of McRae and Helena are merging and today voters are choosing who will be the new city's mayor.
People who live in McRae and Helena say the merger should've happened a long time ago and that it will only progress the city. Voters from McRae and Helena are casting ballots for Mike Young or David Neal to be their new mayor for the new city of McRae-Helena.
"I'm nervous, this is a huge day for our County for our city," said Mike Young, Mayoral Candidate.
"I think my opponent and I are both ready for it to be over with," said David Neal, Mayoral Candidate "We're looking forward to making progress though."
Young has been the Mayor of Helena for three years and says talk of the merger began more than a year ago, while trying to figure out how to get rid of excess waste water in Helena. He says it was a unanimous decision by both Mayors and city councils to merge without putting it to a Referendum.
"The city of McRae already has an existing land application system and they have the capacity to take on our waste water," said Young. "So it was some negotiations to take on our extra capacity."
The merger will create a city population of more than 8,000 people. Young says there won't be any difference in taxes or water rates. The police and fire departments will combine, and jobs won't be lost.
"We'll have one Police Chief over the McRae-Helena, one fire chief over the McRae-Helena, public works director, city manager and so forth," said Young.
Many residents say this should've happened a long time ago.
"Harvey's pretty much half of it is in Helena, half of it is in McRae," said Chasen Cravey, McRae Resident. "I mean merging the city together is going to benefit the city in many ways."
David Neal, who has served on McRae's city council for 14 years, believes the merger will bring more industry.
"We can have a combined force going for the businesses instead of the businesses looking at one of two cities sitting side by side," said Neal.
The winner will take office January 1st.
The polls close at 7. The two Telfair County cities and their governments, will merge under the name McRae-Helena on January 1st.