August 31, 2022 | News

City, county provide lesson on how to work together

Writer: Staff Writer - Daily Editorial

Published August 31, 2022
The Brunswick News

The spirit of cooperation is something you do not see a lot of today when it comes to our government. Too often in state and national politics, the parties involved are too concerned with pointing fingers and blaming others for all the problems people are going through instead of using their power to work together for the good of the people.

There was a time not too long ago that the same could have been said for the government bodies leading Brunswick and Glynn County. The city and county commission had a contentious relationship for a good portion of the 2010s.

The divide was on full display a decade ago during negotiations on how to divvy up Local Option Sales Tax revenue. The sides were so bitter toward each other after their first meeting in 2012 that they didn't meet again for seven weeks. When they did meet again, a mediator from the University of Georgia's Carl Vinson Institute of Government had to be brought in to help get a deal done.

The last few years have seen city and county leaders build a more harmonious relationship. The leaders of both commissions held quarterly breakfast meetings with stakeholders in an effort sponsored by the Golden Isles Chamber of Commerce. County Commissioner Walter Rafolski donated one-fourth of his $1 million allotment from the county to support improvements to city initiatives such as City Squares and sidewalk improvements.

That cooperative spirit was easy to spot during the recent LOST negotiations. County Chairman Wayne Neal told The News there was "no fighting, no animosity" between the two sides.

When you look at the terms the two sides recently agreed to, which still have to be formally approved by both commissions, it may make you chuckle about the animosity the process spawned a decade ago.

Under the new agreement, 73% of the split will go to the county and 27% will go to the city. The city will take back running its own recreation programs while the county will continue to provide traffic signal maintenance and animal control services.

The new terms aren't that much different from the split that was so divisive in 2012. The same 73% county, 27% city split was in place but with the county assuming the city's recreation, animal control and traffic signal maintenance responsibilities. The money for those programs made the split more like 65% for the county and 35% for the city.

Instead of fighting over percentages, city and county leaders worked together to find a solution that benefits everyone. It's amazing what can get done when leaders work with instead of against each other. It's a lesson all elected leaders need to learn.