The Union Recorder

Local News

January 28, 2014

Unification Charter on City Council agenda, vote possible

MILLEDGEVILLE —

This month the Unified Government Charter Writing Committee formerly requested that both city and county governments forward an approved referendum request to the state legislature thereby allowing the citizens of Milledgeville and Baldwin County to vote for or against government consolidation on the November General Election ballot.

Tuesday's City Council agenda features a unification charter line item.

Milledgeville Mayor Richard Bentley said the charter made the agenda for discussion due to the time constraints of a fast Georgia Legislative Session. Local legislatures have to know their next move.

Since the last meeting, City Council members received hard copies of the final charter document ready for potential votes. The mayor said the issue made the agenda since Council has seen the latest version.

“Council will have an opportunity to discuss it at that point,” Bentley said. “We'll see what their preference is.”

A vote isn't guaranteed.

As a whole, Milledgeville City Council members found issue with the Milledgeville-Baldwin County, Georgia Unified Government Charter during a Jan. 14 work session presentation.

The law enforcement portion of the charter stating that “the elected Sheriff of Baldwin County will serve as the Chief Law Enforcement Officer for Milledgeville-Baldwin County” created the most commotion two weeks ago. 

The charter writing committee and elected officials were told by representatives of the Georgia Sheriff's Association that placing additional duties beyond constitutional mandated requirements on the sheriff must be done on a separate referendum.

“There is a question as to whether that is the case when you actually consolidate,” Bentley said. “That's something we were looking into.”

City Attorney Jimmy Jordan agreed to research the issue and as of press time Monday hadn’t found a definitive answer.

The Rev. David Luke, with the Milledgeville-Baldwin County Chamber Board of Directors, said at the last official City Council gathering the charter was “a community document” that no one would agree with 100 percent.

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