An idea to save the city money

Published 4:21 pm Friday, January 16, 2009

Our mayor, Mark Harrell, wants citizen input on the proposal to cut garbage pickup in half.

First, let me say that Jim Young is correct in his letter in the Jan. 10, edition of The Post-Searchlight, with one exception, the county’s creation of the solid waste disposal site on the Florida border. It was, and is, the best site in the county.

My other thought on the problem is to get rid of the Community Development Department. That would take care of more than $125,000 in salaries each year and the expenses of that department and go a long way, probably all the way, toward making up the so-called $155,000 shortfall in the garbage department, a whole lot more than transferring six employees from the Solid Waste Department to other departments, which would get city government exactly no return monetarily. You would only be transferring salary to another department. The money saved by getting rid of the Community Development Department would be saved every year, it’s not just a one-time savings. Had my wife actually interviewed and got the job as communications director for the city, it would still be a waste, and I would be calling the city to get rid of that department.

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The Community Development Department virtually handles only the downtown area, and downtown is already virtually dead, with little or no chance of ever being revived. Businesses are abandoning downtown as quickly as they can find other places to go and this trend will continue.

You can go downtown at almost any hour Monday through Saturday and not find anyone on the streets. Don’t take my word for it. Mayor Harrell and the city council, go to the square and see. Use your eyes and other senses. You’ll find few people and few cars on most occasions. The only times last summer there was anybody downtown was on the first Saturday of the month when a few, and I emphasize a FEW, merchants sponsored and supported the Downtown Market Days events. The city government didn’t support it in any way. As a matter of fact, some of the employees and council members, discouraged it.

Get rid of a department that’s doing you no good. Take a hard look at it, if you want to help the city, see if you can find anything that department does that you just can’t do without. You can’t find a really good reason, and that will become a fact if you are honest with yourself and the citizens of this city. It’s only a drain on city finances.

Bainbridge’s city government is going to continue to be a laughing stock as long as it continues to do things like lose more than $100,000 on, as Jim Young put it, an “over-the-hill Lynyard Skynyrd concert,” ignore ordinances and allow two houses on the same lot, build a Performing Arts building that stands empty most of the time, build an ill-fated marina, try to tell people how to wear their underwear, and pay tons of money to the Genesis Group for do-nothing projects.

The only way you can stop being a laughing stock is to start making better decisions.

Rex SandersBainbridge, Ga.