The Union Recorder

February 4, 2014

County approves charter resolution

Kyle Collins
The Union-Recorder

MILLEDGEVILLE — The Baldwin County Board of Commissioners approved a resolution Tuesday night to move the city-county unification charter a step closer to community vote.

In a 3-2 vote, the board approved a resolution on the charter, which states: “the next step in the process to unify the governments of Baldwin County and the City of Milledgeville is the approval of a resolution requesting that the local delegation of the Georgia General Assembly introduce legislation in the State Legislature to approve and adopt the proposed Charter.”

Commissioners Henry Craig, District 4, Johnny Westmoreland, District 5, and Sammy Hall, District 3, voted in favor of the resolution. Commissioners Tommy French, District 2, and Emily Davis, District 1, voted against the resolution.

A capacity audience turned out to witness the vote on the resolution and members of the community spoke on the issue during the public input portion of Tuesday’s meeting. Locals supporting the resolution and public vote donned stickers in support of a community vote. Other locals who opposed the referendum and the charter development process spoke against it.

City officials were slated to vote on their own resolution last week at a regularly scheduled City Council meeting, however, the meeting was postponed due to inclement weather. City Council next meets on Tuesday, at which time a vote on the charter is very likely.

The foundation charter for a Milledgeville-Baldwin County, Georgia Unified Government was completed by an 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.

Local legislators, state Sen. Burt Jones and state Rep. Rusty Kidd in the local delegation, have to know their next move considering the legislative 2014 session ends in mid-March. The charter must move through the General Assembly for approval to be placed on the ballot before voters.