I keep hearing rumbles here and there about consolidation for Columbia County. Wow! Seems to me you should look and take stock in how successful it's been in Richmond County.
Richmond County was promised that consolidation would streamline government and significantly reduce cost; bring in lots of federal dollars; and give the area a significantly increased tax base. It would allow the fire and police departments to better cover areas of responsibilities, eliminating duplications.
Well! Let me think now what has come about in reality. All departments have grown and are now less efficient, and obviously more expensive. Where has most of the growth gone? Looks like we lose again; it's gone to Columbia County. Folks are clamoring trying to figure a way out of this quagmire with the Augusta Commission and rising taxes.
I - and, I believe, 90 percent of this county - would admit it has been a major mistake. We overlooked one major factor: As voters, we are unable to attract and put in place commissioners of a caliber who are capable of running the operation of this significant enterprise once consolidated. We were certainly better off with smaller turf given our ability to govern and control expenses.
This issue will likely be placed on your ballot at some point in the future. If so, take a deep breath and look across county lines. You could be looking in a mirror.
Tom Walters, Augusta
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