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Baldwin county residents discuss consolidation | News

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Baldwin county residents discuss consolidation
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People curious about what a consolidated government in Baldwin County would look like attended a unification forum.

Some in favor, some against, came to listen to a panel and learn how their lives would be affected.

Supporters of the proposed charter say it will bring more businesses and increase economic growth.

"By merging everything together, it will become more cost-efficient. We would have one police department, one water department, one fire department," said Baldwin County Representative Rusty Kidd.

But those against the charter say the economic growth supporters talk of are not proven.

"These are just hopes and dreams they're passing on to the community in hopes of getting this initiative passed," said Gregory Barnes, chair of the committee opposing the charter.

Barnes says combining the city and county will cost taxpayers money. Also, he says there are no strategic plans or financial projections in the charter.

Kidd rebutted, stating that adding too many specifics wouldn't be effective.

"You want to leave that up to the people you elect. You don't want to micromanage by putting everything into state law because you can't change it," said Kidd.

Owner of Auntie Bellum's Attic in downtown Milledgeville, Larry Houston, says he plans on voting yes for consolidation because he wants to see a change in the government.

"I'm probably the most ignorant person when it comes to politics, but this government in Milledgeville and Baldwin County hasn't been working in over 20 years," said Houston.

Houston says about five years ago he lost 60 percent of business. He blames the poor economy on the local government.

However, he encourages people to make decisions based on their own research.

"Most people are ignorant about it, and they're just voting the way somebody tells them to vote," said Houston.

The vote on consolidation is this November. If it passes, a new mayor would be elected next year.


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