Habersham County Commission Chairman Andrea Harper is reaching out to city leaders in hopes of building bridges over the issues all local governments share. Harper is hosting a joint meeting of all local city councils and the county commission on April 23rd at the Habersham County Courthouse in Clarkesville.
This week she personally invited Cornelia City Council members to come for what she describes as a “no agenda” networking affair, “In the past we’ve had these meetings as a way to keep our camaraderie going that we developed through the SPLOST,” she explains.
City and county governments are forced to negotiate the split of the Special Purpose Local Option Sales proceeds each time the penny tax comes up for renewal. It can be a tense time with each local leader trying to get the very best deal for their town.
Harper believes that getting together when there aren’t millions in tax dollars at stake might ease future negotiations. “We may not always agree but I think it’s easier to talk to people about your disagreements when you know them socially and you feel comfortable talking to them.”
After this month’s event, Harper would like to see more of these gatherings with each city hosting one in turn once a quarter, “That’s what our citizens want, for the cities and the county to work together.”