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Chambers getting rid of local phone numbers

LaFAYETTE — Those looking to get in touch with the Chambers County Commission or courthouse may have recently found their usual number not working.

This is due to the county recently disconnecting 15 local phone numbers to save taxpayer money. According to county manager Regina Chambers, the numbers were originally set up so that citizens in Valley and Lanett would not have to pay long distance calls.

“This allowed them to be able to reach the courthouse free of charge,” she said. “Now everyone has cell phones or unlimited long distance so we feel like they are no longer utilized as much as previously.”

Commissioner Debbie Wood confirmed this, saying that the current number is considered long distance to some county citizens, but this alternative makes more financial sense for them and the county as a whole.

“Now, most people don’t get long distance fees,” Wood said. “They’re using their cell phones or they have a program to where they can do unlimited long distance, so it just doesn’t make sense [to have the other numbers]. The problem is that people are so programmed to use those local numbers, so we are working on that to see if there is any alternative.”

Keeping the local numbers that all redirected to the same line cost the county $600 per month. Wood said that while she definitely prefers a local number to the long-distance one, using the single line just makes more sense for all parties.

“It just was not fiscally responsible when we figured out what we were having to pay,” she said. “It was ridiculous and we were having to spend taxpayer money. I know they have to be able to get in touch with us, but if they found out we had a $600 bill for one number they would be very unhappy about that. We are trying to find an alternative that will work. We have really been looking at cost-saving measures for the county to ensure that we run like any other business.”

The recently disconnected numbers are 706-586-4732, 706-586-8223, 706-586-8224, 706-586-8225, 706-586-8227, 706-586-8229, 706-586-8231, 706-586-8232, 706-586-8233, 706-586-8240, 706-586-8402, 706-586-8404, 706-586-8406, 706-586-8411 and 706-586-8414.

The number citizens can call to get in touch with the commission or other county offices is 334-864-4341. Direct lines to all commissioners can be found at the Chambers County website, chamberscountyal.gov.