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City, county discuss consolidation
Each legislative body votes differently on proposed Carl Vinson Institute study
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    The Statesboro city council and the Bulloch Board of Commissioners took different paths Tuesday as each group decided whether to participate in and fund a study of consolidation of city and county government.
    In a unanimous vote Tuesday morning, the council agreed to fund their portion of the study, which will be conducted by the Carl Vinson Institute of Government at the University of Georgia. They estimated that the study would cost from $30,000 to $40,000, half of which would be paid for by each legislative body.
    City Manager Shane Haynes said the idea for consolidation has been brought up by participants at annual community retreats for the past three or four years. At the retreat held this spring, it was decided the Statesboro-Bulloch Chamber of Commerce would take the lead in the matter.
    “The Chamber and private business has been the driving force behind looking at consolidation from the perspective of having more efficiency in government,” Haynes said. “Certainly we’re all for that, even those of us who serve in the public sector are for more efficiency.”
    Billy Hickman and Terry Reeves have been named co-chair of the committee to look at the possibility of consolidation.
    At Tuesday’s afternoon meeting, County Manager Tom Couch recommended the board hold off on their decision until more information could be obtained from the institute. He also said that if the board decides to approve the study, a budget amendment would need to be passed to pay for the county’s portion of the study and that the funds would have to come out of the county’s fund reserve.     

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