The recently resurrected idea to move the seat of Bryan County government from Pembroke to Richmond Hill isn't new. Indeed, some south Bryan residents may have wanted to see it done since Fort Stewart opened for business and effectively cut this county in half in the 1940s.
But while the idea isn't new, there's definitely a new push to make it happen from a small group of south Bryan people who recently launched a petition drive.
They seem serious. And they say they're meeting with success. They also make some good points. After all, south Bryan is currently more heavily populated than the north end of the county and it's difficult for residents here to attend meetings in Pembroke -- which currently is the only place where county commissioners can vote on matters.
But there's a flip side. While moving the seat to Richmond Hill will make life easier on south Bryan residents who want to attend county commission meetings, it will have the opposite effect on north Bryan residents. And while north Bryan hasn't grown as rapidly as the south end, its growth is beginning to pick up steam.
That means that no matter where the county seat is located, somebody who wants to attend a county commission meeting is going to be inconvenienced, though to its credit the commission seems to be considering doing what it will take to be able to hold meetings where they can vote on matters on both ends of Bryan County. What's more, how much would moving the county seat cost taxpayers? That's something that needs to be weighed heavily by those who want to see this happen.
But population and potential cost aside, there's also the matter of history to take into account. Pembroke has been the county seat since 1937 and some no doubt believe that alone is enough of a reason for that to continue. Of course, the county seat also has been in Clyde, Cross Roads and Eden and started out in Hardwicke, according to various historical accounts. So moving the county seat has been done before.
It's way too early to say that may happen again. But while we aren't convinced moving the seat is a good idea based on a number of factors, we also believe that the ultimate decision rightfully belongs to the county's registered voters. It's our belief government belongs to those it serves. And that includes where it's located.
Feb. 28, 2007
Bryan County News