The projected 10-year deal would, according to City Manager John Bennett, cost city taxpayers about $85,000 to $90,000 more annually than what Rome considers to be fair. Which, of course, means that the taxpayers in the unincorporated area would pay $85,000 to $90,000 less.
Frankly, the whole service arrangement by which the Rome Fire Department protects most of the county (Cave Spring has a volunteer department) is complicated and it is not easy to determine true allocated costs. Just where the fire engines go isn’t an accurate guide; the type of calls involved play a big role in the sort of costs caused.
THE DIN surrounding this negotiation, and the time spent by public officials on it, mostly serves as a reminder that it did not have to be. If the city and county governments were consolidated, as is currently under study, there would only be one bottom line, one taxpayer to pay for it, and all this “divvy up” nonsense would be erased. This discussion wasn’t about budget expansion or reduction, after all. It was only about who gets to pay what.
Since the public is still awaiting the release of comprehensive, accurate statistical data from the consolidation task force on this and all other public services matters, it is impossible to judge whether or not consolidation would be a good idea.
Sure would be more peaceful around here, though