The new year is already shaping up to be a success

Published 6:48 pm Friday, January 15, 2016

We are two weeks into the new year, and I hope 2016 is trending positive for you and yours so far. As always, a new year brings anticipation and a renewed sense of a clean slate.

I am an optimist by nature—don’t have much patience for pessimism or negativity—and I always believe that the next year will be the best yet. So, I think 2016 in our community holds much promise.

A very positive trend, one that started late in the latter half of 2016, that has continued is the renewed sense of cooperation and “friendliness” between our city and county leadership.

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That level of cooperation started changing last spring and really ramped up last August when Allen Thomas accepted the county administrator’s position. While Thomas is not going to blow you away with flash, he is a solid manager and I have really enjoyed getting to know him. The more I see of Thomas’ approach, the more there is to admire and appreciate.

Thomas’ work with Bainbridge City Manager Chris Hobby and the projects they are working on together are logical, sensible, and will benefit all Decatur County residents.

First, was the co-location agreement for the city fire station in West Bainbridge to host a county fire truck and county fire personnel. This agreement could very well save lives and should give county residents in that area a higher sense of comfort.

Last Thursday, the county commission approved two agreements with the city. The city will provide preventative maintenance on county-owned vehicles and the city will provide specialized labor in operation of the county’s natural gas system located in the Decatur County Industrial Park.

The city council is expected to approve those agreements at their meeting Tuesday night and the result will be cost savings to all county residents. Certainly, these two agreements are not earth-shattering, they are baby steps that will turn into big-boy steps in the future.

And, from all indications, this level of cooperation, resulting in more efficient and cost effective operation of both the city and the county, is only the beginning.

Work is still being done on group insurance coverage for employees of both governments. With more buying power because of more employees, let’s hope this work will result in cost savings.

Kudos to both Thomas and Hobby, along with the city council and county commission for approving these agreements, for thinking outside the box and exploring new, different ways to provide services.

And, I encourage both to continue to go down this road of a high-level of cooperation as there is more “low hanging fruit” to be had. From all indications, that’s exactly what they intend to do.