Working together as one

Published 7:39 pm Friday, January 30, 2015

It seems that over the past few weeks, the relationship between Decatur County and the City of Bainbridge is improving. While there are still issues to be resolved, decisions to be made, and scars to be healed, the two governing groups appear to be on the right track.

An incident at the county’s wastewater treatment facility led to the dismissal of two county employees in late December, causing a staff shortage at the county industrial park. Having qualified and certified people on staff, Bainbridge city manager Chris Hobby offered assistance to the county in operation of the wastewater plant and the natural gas system.

Decatur County administrator Gary Breedlove accepted Hobby’s offer and city staff continues assisting the remaining county staff with operation of the county’s natural gas system.

Email newsletter signup

Kudos to Hobby and the city for seeing a need and offering the assistance and kudos to Breedlove and the county for realizing the need and accepting the offer.

Last spring, the city was banned from using the county’s landfill. This move was in response to the Bainbridge City Council voting to accept the low bid and move solid waste disposal from the county to Waste Management’s facility in Florida.

At last Tuesday’s Board of Commissioners’ meeting, newly seated commissioner Pete Stephens made the motion to lift the ban and allow the city to resume use of the landfill.

The motion passed unanimously and the city now has the ability to utilize the landfill.

This move does not affect the city’s relationship with Waste Management, but it does allow a second option for waste disposal if needed.

Keep in mind, this same motion was made last year by then commissioner Oliver Sellers and was defeated by a 4-2 vote.  Kudos to the commission for lifting the ban

While, under normal circumstances, these types of moves would seem inconsequential or typical, these couple of small agreements—small victories—between the two bodies is exactly what is needed to arrive at a more cooperative, functional relationship.

I think it is important to realize that while the two governing bodies have had a rocky road the last couple of years, the staffs and departments of each have, and continue to have, good working relationships.

Cooperation between Bainbridge Pubilc Safety and the Sheriff’s Office, for example, is solid. Bainbridge’s Public Services divisions and the county’s road department work together and help each other consistently. This situation is akin to two sets of parents having a disagreement, but the children are still friends and still play together.

Hopefully, with the new year and some new faces, the divide between the two groups will lessen and we all can move on to more important, productive projects to move the entire county, including Bainbridge, forward. If the last few weeks are any indication, that’s exactly where we are headed.