GEORGETOWN — In a memo to Georgetown City Council July 5, Republican city council members Jonathan Angner and Carol Jayroe asked Mayor Brendon Barber to consider discussing the consolidation of several city services with county services at its next meeting July 15.
This request says it aims to lower taxpayer costs, and comes after the newly enacted 2021-22 city fiscal budget increased water, sewer and electric rates as of July 1.
"As you are aware, the cost to live and work in the city of Georgetown keeps increasing on residents and businesses, who can ill afford these increases in utility rates, fees and taxes," Angner and Jayroe said in the memo.
Some serviecs that are already consolidated, according to the memo, are landfill trash, EMS and parks and recreation. Though the topic is only in its proposal phase, Jayroe said an area she could see consolidated is economic development, as the city lacks an economic development director at this time.
While Jayroe said she and Angner don't know at this time how much money these consolidations could save the average taxpayer, she said she hopes the city can find a way to consolidate services without eliminating jobs.
Jayroe said she has wanted to talk about consolidation for the entirity of her eight years on council, though she voted for the new budget with its rate increases, while Angner voted against it.
"I voted for the increase simply because I know we had to do that," Jayroe said. "We have not kept up with the increases that needed to be made over the years, incrementally, so we had to have a larger increase than I would have liked."
A way to initiate these consolidations, the memo said, is for both city and county councils to appoint a joint committee to discuss their options. According to the most recent census data, almost 23 percent of Georetown city residents live in poverty and almost 5 percent of the city's population has left in the last 10 years. In the memo, Anger and Jayroe cite these statistics as reasons some services should be considered for consolidation.
As of Tuesday afternoon, Barber said he has not had a chance to review the memo. County Spokesperson Jackie Broach said no one with the city has approached the county about the memo as of Tuesday afternoon.
"What is proposed in this document would obviously be a significant change to fundamental operations and it's something we would need to review and consider very carefully," Broach said.
Angner is up for city council reelection in November, and Jayroe is running against Barber for mayor in November.