ARC move looks less likely

Thu, 09/04/2008 - 3:18pm
By: Ben Nelms

It looks like Coweta County will retain its membership in the Chattahoochee-Flint Regional Development Center (RDC) instead of joining Atlanta Regional Commission (ARC). Commissioners discussed the potential move again Sept. 2, but the brief discussion ended without a vote. It was an outcome that, for all appearances, left the idea of joining ARC dead in the water. Yet a transition is likely to occur regardless, with Chatt-Flint expected to eventually merge with McIntosh RDC to become a 10-county Regional Center (RC).

The idea of leaving Chatt-Flint RDC for the ranks of ARC membership surfaced in August, with Commissioner Tim Lassetter and others questioning whether Coweta should become a little fish in a big pond by joining ARC or retain its membership with the evolving RDC, an eventuality that would make it a big fish in a little pond.

Reporting Sept. 2 on research he had done on the issue, Commissioner Randolph Collins said he looked at the pros and cons on both sides.

“The main point is that Coweta has got to be involved,” Collins said. “I’m leaning toward staying in the RDC and helping shape the new merger (with McIntosh).”

In response, Chairman Tim Higgins, as he had done in August, noted ARC’s far-reaching impact across metro Atlanta in areas that have and will continue to have an impact on Coweta.

“(Being with) ARC guarantees input through two seats on the board. Without those seats, someone may be making those decisions for us,” Higgins said. “We’ll have to be very involved in the new RC. We would be the largest county, but I don’t think we’ll run it. The new RC is largely rural. I’d rather learn from Cobb and Gwinnett’s mistakes.”

Collins said he essentially agreed with Higgins’ assessment, though he still maintained that remaining with RDC would be preferable. Collins used the occasion to advocate for another facet of county governance discussed in previous months, that of moving to a full-time county commission chairman. That person would be able to represent Coweta County in meetings whenever and wherever they occurred. Several on the commissioners have stated in previous meetings that commission positions currently being part-time sometime detracts from adequate elected representation at regional meetings and conferences.

Collins, and Commissioner Paul Poole both said Sept. 2 that citizen input they had received lent itself to Coweta remaining an RDC member.

An emerging variable in the life of the states Rural Development Centers comes in the form of what could be become an entirely new, and much larger Regional Center and one that, locally, would encompass 10 counties. As in other areas of Georgia, the potential exists for Chattahoochee-Flint RDC to merge with McIntosh RDC to become an entirely new, legislatively-inspired entity, one of the new Regional Centers RCs.

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Submitted by 30YearResident on Fri, 09/05/2008 - 6:55am.

"Once you enter, you can never leave!"

Fayette looked into getting out of ARC and returning to the former group at one time, but if my mind serves me correctly (and sometimes it doesn't) it was practically impossible for us to leave.

Plus, I don't believe Mr. Dunn wanted to give up his prestigious position on the ARC board which was more important to him than what was best for Fayette Co.

You've made the right decisions... don't consider it again.

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