The Union Recorder

Local News

February 4, 2014

County first to vote on unification charter

(Continued)

MILLEDGEVILLE —

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.

“I’m not saying I’m for or against consolidation, but I felt like it needed to be a charter that would make sense and be a good working document,” Hall said. “The original had too many flaws in it. If we are going to have a document, we want to make sure it’s something you can live with.” 

Vance did give the county officials, especially Hall, credit for participating with valid critiques that worked into the fluid document.

The city officials were not so involved, according to Vance.

“No one from the city offered any written suggestions. The mayor (Richard Bentley) did offer some suggestions that had already been made by the county,” the charter committee chair said. “They are all saying we don’t like it. Well what would you change?”

Hall wants to emphasize that local elected officials are voting on a “specific” document not just the “concept of unification.”

“When the referendum comes up in November, it will be an actual vote on that charter, which will, if passed, change the form of government in Baldwin County,” Hall said. “It’s not just whether or not we think it’s a great idea to unify.”

Vance posed a question to local elected officials.

“What’s the difference in voting on this and a (Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax) resolution?” he said Monday. “There is none. It’s not about the legal jargon. It’s really simple. All they would do is ask the legislature to vote on the charter to unify the government in Baldwin County.”

The proposed charter calls for a 10-citizen transition team including two current county commissioners, two municipal elected officials and six community members (three appointed by the current City Council and three by the current county commissioners). This group would assist the new government with consolidation of services.

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