published Thursday, March 1st, 2012

Dalton-Whitfield County charter panel still studying merger

Tom Young/Correspondent

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DALTON, Ga. — Members of a Dalton-Whitfield County charter commission subcommittee are hoping to bring concrete recommendations to the entire group before late March.

"This is a very complicated issue," subcommittee Chairman Phil Neff said. "We are still looking at the advantages/disadvantages [of merging governmental operations] and trying to see what is workable and what is not."

The subcommittee has met several times over the past 45 days.

"We've had some pretty good meetings with the various departments," said David Renz, who has led discussion with officials from city and county fire departments.

"If this thing is going to work, it will be up to the people to implement it," Neff said. "This is a significant time with what we face in this economy. We have to give the people a chance to take a look at this."

Frank Thomaston, consolidation committee chairman, said a written report would be presented to the entire Dalton-Whitfield County Charter and Consolidation Commission "as to what/if any action will be taken."

Time is on the minds of members, as the goal is to bring a proposal to the ballot in November.

Obstacles such as combining departments, dealing with tax ratings and deciding who would administer merged departments are among issues for the committee.

The commission is planning a public meeting soon for resident input. The next subcommittee meeting is set for March 14.

Tom Young is based in Dalton. Contact him at

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