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Consolidation discussion Tuesday

City, county to meet at 1 p.m. today at Agricultural Center; seating is limited

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    The Bulloch County Board of Commissioners and the Statesboro City Council, along with representatives of Brooklet, Portal and Register, will come together this afternoon to hear and discuss matters related to a proposed consolidation study of county and municipal governments.
    The meeting is for informational and conversational purposes only, and will feature presentations by David Lynn from the Carl Vinson Institute of Government at the University of Georgia and Dave Willis from the Association of County Commissioners of Georgia. In addition, Billy Hickman and Terry Reeves from the Statesboro-Bulloch Chamber of Commerce committee, which originally approached the county and city with the idea, will also make a presentation.
    Consolidation was first brought up at the July 7 meeting of the city council where councilmen voted to appropriate $20,000, which was half of the cost of a consolidation study to be performed by the Vinson Institute. Later that day, the county commission decided to table the issue until the commissioners could gather more information.
    At their July 21 meeting, the commissioners voted to approve a budget amendment that appropriated their half of the proposed consolidation study — $20,000. However, it was pointed out at the meeting that the commissioners would still need to approve a contract with the Carl Vinson Institute before any monies would be spent.
    That same evening, the city council reversed itself and voted to rescind funding for the study, citing the need to include other Bulloch County municipalities in the discussion as well as gather additional information. The council also would like to see members of the consolidation committee better represent the city’s diversity in regards to race, age and gender.
    If Statesboro and Bulloch County consolidate, it would be only the fifth consolidated government in the state. Columbus/Muscogee, Cusseta/Chattahoochie, Athens/Clarke and Augusta/Richmond are the others.
    The meeting will start at 1 p.m. at the Bulloch County Agricultural Center on Langston Chapel Road and is scheduled to last two hours. It is anticipated that no action will be taken by the county or any of the municipalities present.
    Seating is limited to two dozen seats, which will be filled on a first-come, first-served basis.
    The county commission and the city council both meet today for their regularly scheduled meetings. The commission meets today at 8:30 a.m. in the Bulloch County Annex on North Main and the council meets at 6 p.m. one the second floor of City Hall on East Main.

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