First mayor elected in newly merged McRae-Helena

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HELENA, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT)- McRae and Helena residents now know who will be their new mayor.

Runoff election results from Tuesday’s voting gave Mike Young the seat of McRae-Helena mayor.

He will be the first mayor for the new consolidated city, which will be divided into three wards.

Young says one of his main concerns is young people leaving due to lack of jobs and opportunity.

"McRae and Helena, since I’ve been an adult, has been on a steady decline and bringing our population together, our cities together, gives our community an opportunity to network at a higher level for industries or companies to come in," Mayor-Elect Mike Young said.

Young also says building a hospital or emergency care center is one of his main priories. He adds not having a healthcare center in the region is an ongoing problem.

City officials said the reason the two cities will be merging together is because Helena had a serious waste water problem.

“It would have cost us six million dollars to repair our waste water system," said Helena county manager Janeen Tokar. “We reached out to McRae and they saved us.”

With both cities budgets, the waste water problem will not be as big of a burden on taxpayers.

The fire department has always been McRae-Helena Fire and will remain that way.

There will be a new police chief that the new council-elect and mayor will appoint.

“We had three public hearings on the merger and majority of people supported it,” Tokar said. “Only old timers didn’t support the merger because they don’t want change.”

She also said the only issue that will affect residents is where they will pay their water taxes, which is set to be paid at Helena city hall.