HAWKINSVILLE, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) — This November, the residents of Hawkinsville and Pulaski County may have the opportunity to decide if they want to consolidate. A bill that would combine the governments is making it’s way through the Georgia General Assembly.
“A small town like this we don’t need but one government,” said Hawkinsville resident, Eschol Brown.
Brown is a life-long resident of Hawkinsville, but he says not everyone share’s the same mindset.
“We got some hard-hearted people in these small country towns and areas and some of them you can’t change a ball with a bat.”
When it comes to combining the city and county governments, the leaders are staying neutral.
“It’s up to the people, I’m not going to take a stand one way or another,” said Butch Hall, Pulaski County Commissioner.
“We’re doing fine now, as we are, however if the community would like to consolidate governments, I think that would work fine also,” said Jerry Murkerson, Hawkinsville City Manager
A 16 member consolidation charter commission, made up of city and county residents, helped write the consolidation bill. The new government would consist of a five member commission, with one at large, and four district representatives.
The bill wouldn’t eliminate any positions in the first year. One of the contributors, Hugh Coleman says, over time the consolidated government would get rid of duplicate positions and services.
“In the long run, you’d have less of those expenses,” said Coleman.
The bill was based on feedback from public meetings.
“We really didn’t have very many concerns that came out,” said Coleman.
Coleman says a concern for some was the equal treatment of all residents. That’s what Wanda Heneson wants.
“It would be positive if they going to do something for the people, not against the people,” said Heneson.
If that’s what the people are presented with, Heneson says everyone should say yes to consolidation. The bill has to pass through the senate, and get approval from the Department of Justice.