Community hoped meeting would repair tensions between Tifton, Ti - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Community hoped meeting would repair tensions between Tifton, Tift Co. leaders

Tifton Chamber of Commerce Sign (Source: WALB) Tifton Chamber of Commerce Sign (Source: WALB)
Julie Smith, Tifton Mayor (Source: WALB) Julie Smith, Tifton Mayor (Source: WALB)
Bubba Harrison, Northside Cafe Owner (Source: WALB) Bubba Harrison, Northside Cafe Owner (Source: WALB)
TIFTON, GA (WALB) -

For the first time in more than a year, Tifton's city council and county commission met together Tuesday night. 

There has been acknowledged tension between the two groups for quite some time.

The meeting with all the city council, county commissioners, and Mayor Julie Smith was held at the Tifton Chamber of Commerce.

Officials met to discuss the Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax, commonly referred to as SPLOST. 

Bubba Harrison owns Northside Cafe in Tifton. 

"I was told always to never vote a tax on myself, but I can understand and appreciate the Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax," said Harrison. 

Harrison is a Tifton resident who attended Tuesday evening's meeting. 

He wanted to see if programs like SPLOST would be agreed upon by Tifton's city council and county commission parties. 

"We are located on a major artery where a lot of people purchase goods and services in our community from outside of here," explained Harrison. "So, they contribute to our well being. And I think it's something that we need to do." 

Tuesday's meeting was held to determine if SPLOST will be renewed in November or if it will be delayed until 2018.

Tifton and Tift County did not come to a resolution on SPLOST Tuesday night. 

Mayor Julie Smith said that the time between meetings between the officials was because of past tensions. 

"I really hope that our meeting this afternoon opens the door for future meetings," said Smith. "Again, it's very important that we work together. It's very important that we hear the needs of our constituents and that we work together to make sure those needs are met. 

Smith's personal goal was to get SPLOST on the ballot for November of this year but knows teamwork between the city and county is essential. 

"What I think we need to do As elected officials is put the past in the past and leave it there," explained Smith. "Like, I know you said there have been some tensions. Hopefully, those can be alleviated and tonight's meeting will be the start of putting Tifton and Tift County back together in a positive manner for our residents and our businesses." 

"I'm hoping that tonight that our leaders from this city and county can both agree that something needs to be done to look after the best interest of the citizens of Tifton and Tift County," said Harrison. 

Smith also said the people in city council and county commission positions now are not the leaders who were part of the issues from years back. 

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