Our View: County decisions show hope for city-county relations




During Monday's Lowndes County Board of Supervisors meeting, there were two items on the agenda that seemed sure to widen the gulf that has seemed to separate Lowndes County and the city of Columbus. 


Hard feelings between elected officials over recent years seemed ready to boil over again when the agenda suggested the county would not agree to go along with a proposed change in the 2-percent tax that is supported by the CVB the city of Columbus and most of the local legislators. Add to that, an item rumored to call for the county to start its own soccer program, breaking from Columbus United, which includes players from throughout the city and county, and the tone seemed confrontational at best. 


But an interesting thing happened on the way to another city-county fight. Both agenda items were changed or tabled. Supervisors voted unanimously to support the 2-percent compromise endorsed by the city and other parties while tabling the plan calling for a separate county soccer program. 


This came after a Letter to the Editor from Columbus Mayor Robert Smith in Sunday's Dispatch that was highly critical of the county's operations of the Columbus Soccer complex and suspicious of its motives. 


Supervisors did not seize on that letter as fuel for a fight, though, and we are encouraged by that. 


District 5 Supervisor Leroy Brooks addressed the board, obviously wearing of the infighting between county and city officials. 


"These arguments we have... I look at the YMCA," Brooks said. "You go down there and there are people of different races, backgrounds, ideas and everybody gets along. Everybody does their thing and it's great. I wonder sometimes why it can't be like that with the city and the county. We have a good community and I think we can have a better one. But to do that, we need to work together on the things." 


Earlier, District 2 Supervisor Bill Brigham struck a similar tone. He said he proposed accepting the proposal on the 2-percent tax not because he favored it, but because he felt it was more important for the community to be united than to fight over the details. 


That spirit, we believe, is healthy. 


There are some things people can and will be divided over. But the average resident of our community, whether they live in the city or in the county, does not draw so sharp a distinction between the city and the county. 


It serves all of our interests for both the city and the county to prosper and the average citizen supports that idea. 


The spirit of working with each other to solve problems rather than drawing lines in the sand and fighting it out benefit no one, least of all the citizens. 


We applaud the county's conciliatory attitude as it was exhibited Monday. We urge city leaders to embrace a similar attitude. 


We are better when we work together.



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