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Opinion: Is Canton Going to Be a City?

Some members of the Canton City Council are pushing to not only dissolve the Canton Fire Department but also to dissolve the water and sewer system, Council member Bill Bryan writes.

Remember about six months ago when some ? Remember the that rose up against this idea?

While I did not agree with the idea, I did encourage the exploration of the idea and was ridiculed for even considering such a thing. Now some members of the are pushing to not only dissolve the but also to . What's next? Police? Roads? Parks? We can't have it both ways. Are we going to be a city or not?

Some fire facts:

  • Every property owner that is served by currently pays a 3.1 mills fire tax. There are no exemptions. The county is going to continue to collect those mills from every single property it serves. Regardless of what some city and county politicians tell you, the county is not going to give up that 3.1 mill per property. In fact, last week they raised it to 3.394 mils.
  • The notion of "grandfathering" is bunk. The county will be paid their millage from each and every property. The takeover will be governed by a contract. It will be the same contract that the county currently has with Holly Springs, Ball Ground, and Waleska. Cherokee County will require Canton to pay 3.394 mills from each and every piece of property just like it does with the three other cities it contracts with.
  • With a "takeover" (not merge, not consolidate), the same needs would be there, the same costs would be there and the same issues would be there. The difference is that your local elected city politicians would not have to deal with it anymore. One less headache for Canton politicians, bigger problems for Canton residents.

So the greater question is: Are we going to be a city or are we going to dismantle it piece by piece?

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Bill Bryan April 19, 2013 at 06:01 PM
A big thanks to local pundit Jeff Brown for reminding me of this piece written last summer. It is still as true now as it was back then. Canton's Fire Department is one of the crown jewels of our beautiful city. You're darn right I'm proud of it! But that is not the main reason I am fighting those hellbent on giving it away. If I thought for one minute that giving it away was in the best long term interest of the Taxpayers of this city you would see me leading the charge to do just that. Cherokee County has a very good county fire department but there are vast differences in protecting a large, spread out county and protecting a small compact city. A take over would absolutely result in some cost savings to Canton residents and a takeover would result in an absolute reduction in quality and level of service. There is validity in both viewpoints but I choose our current premium level of service for the extra cost of pennies a day. Life/safety trumps a few pennies a day every time.

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