The Union Recorder

Local News

July 22, 2013

Second joint local government meeting talks unification charter

MILLEDGEVILLE — After one year of research and development, the foundation charter for a Milledgeville-Baldwin County, Georgia Unified Government was completed by the Unified Government Charter Writing Committee and released for public consumption May 1. 

The Baldwin County Commissioners and Milledgeville City Council thanked members of the charter writing committee for their yearlong efforts Thursday. The Central Georgia Technical College gathering served as the second joint local government meeting also.

City Councilman Phillip Joiner was the only district representative not present.

Commission Chair Sammy Hall appreciated the efforts put into the nearly 60-page government consolidation charter.

Hall said he and Mayor Richard Bentley had a feel for both boards' charter opinion. 

“We aren't on board with everything,” the county chairman said Thursday.

Charter writing committee chair Ken Vance said in 28 years as a Councilman the city and county never participated in joint meetings. Vance likened the 'new direction' to the consolidation idea.

Elected officials were reminded the charter is a fluid document. Vance welcomed comments, concerns and suggestions.

“I stand here tonight to tell you we are in a listening mode,” he said. “The discussion has started, and that's a great thing.”

Above all, the charter committee provided a constitutional foundation for an alternative governing method. 

The eight-charter writers represent a diverse section of the city and county. They completed the given task and want the people to decide if they desire consolidation, according to Vance.

Bentley applauded the unification document and helped identify where the political bodies go now.

The mayor recommended both the County Commissioners and City Councilman determine the changes they as individuals would like to see. Afterward, the charter writing committee could condense the alterations down into a revised, workable charter edit by Oct. 1.

Then, Bentley said additional joint meetings with local government and the charter group would behoove the process.

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