Because it is such a new and still somewhat puzzling topic, there are a lot of things to say about Columbia County incorporation and consolidation.
County Commission Chairman Ron Cross, in a guest column today, says many of them as he lays out the proposal.
Harlem Mayor Scott Dean's son offers an opinion on the topic, too. With a cartoon in today's print edition that is well worth a thousand words, 10-year-old Anthony encapsulates the fear of consolidation from many in the county's two cities: Anthony depicts consolidation as the Grim Reaper, threatening the lives of Harlem and Grovetown.
We're still digesting this idea. It has come up before; in fact, the last time it forced Augusta to hastily approve a bad consolidation plan that nonetheless locked Columbia County out because of state law requiring a 3-mile buffer between new cities.
That would have ended the debate. But lawmakers this year removed the three-mile rule when they allowed the city of Sandy Springs to incorporate. Columbia County can now create a city, and then immediately merge with it to create a government with all the advantages of a city and a county.
But as Augusta Administrator Fred Russell warns, there are disadvantages, too; he wryly points out that when federal and state requirements call for Augusta to be a city, it's a county, and when it helps to be a county, they're seen as a city. And, Russell and other officials note, those lusted-after federal grants don't come without strings.
Still, the idea is worth talking about. Now the debate is raging about what to call the new community if voters approve it.
Send us your suggestion to email@example.com, and we'll be happy to share it with readers - along with your views on just what this proposal means.
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