The Union Recorder

January 24, 2014

County building, property naming policy approved

Kyle Collins
The Union-Recorder

MILLEDGEVILLE — The Baldwin County Commissioners began developing a uniform policy for the naming or renaming of county owned buildings and properties last September. 

Previously, the county had no written policy, code or ordinance in place as to how things are named or renamed. 

After a longer than expected research and development phase by Commissioners Henry Craig, District 4, and Emily Davis, District 1, the policy passed by a 3-2 vote at Tuesday’s regular board meeting.

Commissioners Tommy French, District 2, and Davis voted no, while Craig, Sammy Hall, District 3, and Johnny Westmoreland, District 5, said yes to the policy.

Craig presented the document during Tuesday’s work session with highlighted changes and edits suggested by Davis. French disagreed that the ordinance was “an incomplete document.”

“It has corrections on it,” French said. “You are telling me to vote on an incomplete document that has to be altered. We need to do business appropriately.”

According to the ordinance, no building or property constructed, developed or acquired by the county will be assigned a name or renamed unless it falls within the policy and is approved by the commission. 

This applies to buildings, parts of buildings, bridges, parks, gardens and any other county owned property. Naming or renaming streets, roads, alleys, paths or similar thoroughfares that already have a recorded name will also be governed by the ordinance.

“Everything in this document is not original,” Craig said. “Everything came from other established, successful communities.”

Buildings or properties may be named or renamed for persons who’ve made significant contributions to “the well-being” and “betterment” of Baldwin County. War or public safety heroes can have their name live on as well. 

Living individuals making “overwhelmingly significant” contributions might also have a name on county property.

The ordinance says renaming shall not be considered unless evidence suggests the existing name lacks significance or has been diminished by derogatory evidence.

Procedure for naming or renaming of a public building or property includes:

• County commissioners may propose a name;

• County commission staff may recommend a name;

• The commission may set in place a public process for soliciting input in the naming; 

• Any person, firm or association may propose a name;

Submissions come to the county manager by way of the county clerk.

Public hearings during a regular commission meeting are required for any change. A sign will be placed on the property to alert the neighborhood.

A minimum of three county commissioners “must affirm or acknowledge support” for the proposed name or rename to the county manager before presentation to the full board for the adoption or denial vote.

“Before bringing it to the agenda, it will have the full support of three commissioners,” Craig said. “All commissioners will see all of the information and have the opportunity to comment to the county manager.”

Davis disagreed with the “meeting before the meeting” idea. Craig said that section makes sure no families are offended during open public discussion.

“I’m just trying to avoid the embarrassment of prominent people and their families in our community,” he said Tuesday.