Local News

1/27/2012

City gets input on water board

By MEGHAN PITTMAN

The Brunswick News

Brunswick city commissioners listened to public opinion about potential changes to the composition of a joint city-county utility board during a special session Thursday.

The session heard from a handful of residents who voiced concern about a proposal to change the makeup of the Brunswick-Glynn County Joint Water-Sewer Commission to add more citizens and reduce the number of elected officials on it.

City commissioner Cornell Harvey, one of two city commissioners on the utility's board, said that he understands that the commission needs greater citizen representation.

"We feel the need, and now we need to figure out how to have both," said Harvey. "The question now, for us to decide, is whether to elect or appoint these representatives and officials."

Members of the city commission will discuss the issue and make a decision to recommend to the state Legislature, which created the commission that voters approved, Harvey said.

Sandy Dean, a citizen member of the city's audit committee, spoke against having members elected or appointed by politicians.

"The people should have qualifications to serve on this board," Dean said. "Allow the (county) grand jury to look at the individuals and make a selection based on their qualifications."

Furthermore, Dean said, a two-year term on the board is not enough to make a difference.

Resident Jeff Kilgore encouraged the city to decide soon in order for the current session of the Legislature to amend the board's membership.

"There needs to be enough people to spread the workload out and get it away from the concentration of elected officials," said Kilgore. "Let the grand jury make the final appointments or let them be elected by the people."

The proposed change to the commission's makeup calls for one elected official from the city, one from Glynn County and five citizens appointed based on grand jury recommendations. Three of the citizens would need to have water-sewer expertise. The board now has two city commissioners, two county commissioners and one citizen.