City and county come together for joint councilPublished 9:58pm Tuesday, April 29, 2014
Bainbridge city elected officials and Decatur County elected commissioners met Tuesday to take steps forward to resolving their differences.
The meeting, moderated by Bainbridge State College President Dr. Richard Carvajal, ended with the signing of a pledge to support a new government council where the two government bodies would meet together regularly, come to the table and discuss topics and issues that affect them both.
In the meeting, the two bodies came to a consensus for when their newly formed council would meet, where they would meet, who would chair the meeting and what would be discussed.
To start off the meeting Bainbridge Mayor Edward Reynolds said a few words, as did County Commission Chairman Frank Loeffler.
“I think this is very important as elected officials for us to be able to speak directly to one another about certain issues and concerns we have for our city and our county,” Reynolds said. “It is unfortunate that we have gotten to this place where we require a formal action to do so and I think that is what it requires and I think it is imperative that we recognize our need to do that.”
Loeffler said it had been a long time since the county and city had met in such a setting.
“We are looking forward to what productivity comes from this meeting in the future,” Loeffler said.
Carvajal prior to the meeting had drafted a mission statement for the new council.
“The vision of this council of governments shall be to create a strengthened partnership between the City of Bainbridge and Decatur County, their elected representatives, and their administrative and support offices, with the ultimate goal of making Decatur County a more prosperous and livable place for its citizens and business community,” the statement said.
Several leaders spoke about modifications to the statement that would be more inclusive to the other municipalities in the community including Attapulgus, Brinson and Climax communities.
The officials then came to a quick consensus with minimal discussion on other factors about how and when the council would meet.
It was decided the council would meet quarterly and the chairman position would rotate from the mayor of the city to the chairman of the commission each time. The location will continue to be in the reception room at the Kirbo Center, with hopes that one day the council could meet in varying rotations that would allow elected officials to learn more about the other entity.
For example, some meetings could take place at the new Jones Wheat Elementary, county offices or Memorial Hospital.
The group then brainstormed agenda topics for the first several meetings which included service delivery agreements, presentations from staff members and SPLOST.
In closing Carvajal asked Reynolds and Loeffler to sign a pledge of support for the joint group surrounded by their elected officials.