Douglasville Mayor Rochelle Robinson was spot on when she noted that as a resident of the city, she also pays county taxes.
Robinson made the comment in the wake of a major collaboration between the Douglasville City Council and Douglas County Board of Commissioners last Tuesday at the Douglas County Chamber Luncheon. That’s when it was announced that the city and county development authorities would unify.
In recent years, Douglas County Commission Chairman Tom Worthan has been beating the consolidation drum — pointing out that the city and county have many services that duplicate. As a result, city residents have been essentially paying twice for services like economic development.
But with Tuesday’s action, all economic development will now take place through the county’s development authority, headed by Chris Pumphrey, executive director of the Development Authority of Douglas County.
We commend Robinson, Worthan and their governments for doing what we believe is the right thing in unifying the authorities. Many current city council members and county commissioners have been supportive of this move in the past. But it took the leadership of Robinson, Worthan, Pumphrey and others to get it done.
Pumphrey said the city’s development authority will still exist because it has the title to bonds for some existing industries receiving tax incentives such as Gordon Foods and Medline. But he said it will only meet when needed and will be more of a “transactional board” approving things like easements.
The county development authority and its board will now be responsible for all projects coming into the county and city.
Under the deal announced Tuesday, Robinson said the city will contribute $50,000 to the county authority to assist in attracting industry.
Tuesday’s action was the first collaboration of significance between the city and county since Robinson took office in January. However, Robinson pointed out she and Worthan have been working together “since Day 1.”
Robinson said Worthan, who is the chairman of the Atlanta Regional Commission’s Transportation and Air Quality Committee (TAQC), asked her to also serve on the committee.
For his part, Worthan said he was pleased with the agreement unifying the city and county on economic development.
“We will continue work to find other services that we might be able to consolidate and save taxpayers dollars,” Worthan said. “Economic development is key to our future success as we continue with one voice in bringing good, clean industry and jobs to both Douglasville and Douglas County. I applaud efforts by the mayor and City Council and the Board of Commissioners in putting egos behind us and moving our community forward.”
It makes sense to us that whatever benefits the city benefits the county and vice versa. Tuesday’s unification should make it easier for Pumphrey and his staff to recruit now that any businesses looking to locate in Douglas County will go through the county development authority rather than trying to determine which authority to reach out to.
This unification of development authorities sends a signal to all that the city and county governments are on the same page. It hasn’t always been that way. We hope this is the first of many collaborative efforts that will benefit all of Douglas County.
Kudos again to all involved.