When contacted Monday, Luke said charter supporters were “praying” for the go-ahead this week.
“We are thinking positively that we'll get the number of votes that we need,” Luke said. “We hope Milledgeville can move forward and be the progressive city we know it can be.”
Luke said he isn't an “abolitionist” just a community leader concerned for people in all voting districts.
“If this doesn't work, my attention would immediately move to what's our next step…what's our plan?” he said Monday. “To go back to business as usual is not acceptable.”
The foundation charter for a Milledgeville-Baldwin County, Georgia Unified Government was completed by a diverse eight-member Unified Government Charter Writing Committee and released May 1, 2013.
The writing committee's work toward letting citizens vote on government consolidation began two years ago.
When the charter writing process started, the group solicited city and county government expertise though they received little feedback from elected officials. The charter has been through multiple edits since last May.
Highlights of the charter's current form include:
• Seven-member governing board with the chair (functioning as Mayor) elected at-large and six commissioners would represent six Baldwin County electoral districts to be redrawn by the Georgia Reapportionment Office. The new government charter has an even three majority and three minority-voting districts. Elections would be non-partisan;
• Charter calls for continuation of the manager plan of government;
• The elected sheriff of Baldwin County will serve as the Chief Law Enforcement Officer;
• County will divide into a general service and urban service tax districts. The general represents the entire county area, while the urban includes corporate city limits. Special service districts may be established if needed;
• New franchise fees will be used to defray expenses incurred as a result of unification since the consolidated government assumes all debt obligations. After two years, revenue from those fees will be used to lower urban district taxes, according to the charter summary; and