Merger deserves study

Published 9:31 am Wednesday, February 27, 2013

It’s a cliched phrase, but sometimes you have to think outside the box — and for Brewton and East Brewton, that might mean reaching across Murder Creek a little more than we do.
As word has gotten out about the possibility of a merger between the Brewton and East Brewton police departments, residents on both sides of Murder Creek have been wondering just how that plan would work — and whether it is a good idea.
Dozens of people attended the East Brewton council meeting Monday night to voice opposition to the idea — but others have expressed support on social media.
How the merger would work, who would be in charge and how much it would save — and whether protection would improve — are among the questions we have. One of the reasons so many have questions is that discussions on the issue were begun in private.
While we wish officials in Brewton and East Brewton had begun talks more openly than they did, we think the issue deserves consideration — not because we have made up our minds that it is the right thing to do, but because we need to do what is best for these two communities.
Like most governments, both cities have struggled financially in recent years thanks to the economic recession.
Both departments have strong leadership and officers who do what is best to protect the citizens of their communities.
But we owe it to ourselves — and future generations — to study whether this would be feasible and cost effective and would provide even better services than we have now.
We won’t know whether it is a good idea to merge the departments until we look at the same issues that East Brewton and Brewton are studying.
We urge our city officials in both communities to be open about the process — and to do what is best for all of us.

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