Thursday, October 22, 2009

Cordele City Commissioner candidates in favor of consolidation

BECKY CRISSMAN of The Cordele Dispatch has the story
Crisp County: Candidates for the upcoming election for the city commission here addressed some heavy issues during a forum held at the Crisp County High School Cafetorium Monday night.

Sponsored by the Cordele-Crisp Chamber of Commerce, the event gave citizens an opportunity to hear first-hand the visions the candidates have for the future of Cordele and Crisp County.

Candidates participating include current chairman of the Cordele City Commission Zack Wade, who is seeking re-election for the at-large post, and two of his opponents, Antwon Yowe, and Jamie Fernandez.

Also on hand were Ward 2 hopefuls — the incumbent Willie Colson Jr. and his opponent Curtis Lucas Jr. — and Ward 3 contestants — incumbent Jeanie Bartee and her foe, John Bagwell.

Billy Cannon, chairman of the Chamber Board of Directors, served as moderator for the forum, giving each candidate equal time to respond to issues, one of the most pressing being the issue of consolidating city and county government.

The candidates’ response to the issue was along the same lines, all commenting that ultimately it was a decision to be left up to the people.

“This is an issue that must be looked at,” said Wade. “There is really no need to build a new fire department when the areas could be covered. Privatization should also be looked at.”

Fernandez agreed, pointing out that duplicate services are an injustice. He also observed that people feared consolidation would bring about a loss of jobs. “I believe the citizens should vote on this issue,” he said.

Yowe likewise agreed that consolidation should be looked at, but also noted that out of the 159 counties throughout the State of Georgia only three have undergone that type change.

“We need to step back and examine what these other counties have done,” he said. “We need to check the pros and cons of the situation. The situation has been looked at here before, but came to a standstill because the city and county governments could not reach an agreement. Whatever decision is made, it should be the one most beneficial to the people.”

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