ALBANY, GA (WALB) – It looks as if consolidating Albany and Dougherty County governments is a dead issue. While the bill passed the Senate, it hasn't made it through the house.
Since tomorrow is the final day of the General Assembly session, it's almost certain that voters won't get a say-so on consolidation this year.
State Representative Ed Rynders says consolidation is on life support-- with no brain wave activity. And it appears there is no chance for it to be revived, at least not this year.
It's a day County Commissioner Jack Stone is happy to see. "Thank God consolidation is dead again for a while..." he said.
Stone says he's thankful it's a dead issue because the people don't want it. "I'm glad it's over with. The majority of the people in Dougherty County do not even want to vote on it."
And that's why Representative Winfred Dukes says he didn't push the issue in the House. "There is not a compelling interest. You cannot circumvent the will of the people and if it was the will of the people for consolidation, we'd be voting on it in the morning."
Because if they wanted it, Dukes says he would have made sure it made it's way through the house. "The will for consolidation in Dougherty County is not there."
But Chamber representatives say the will is there for people who live in the city and county to have their own say in the matter.
"Really, we just voted to push and work on this opportunity for the voters to have a chance to vote on how they will be governed," said Wendy Martin of the Chamber of Commerce.
And with the end of the session looming, they hope time hasn't run out. "We're hoping that there is enough time for it to pass the house and once and for all, the voters in the city and county can vote on how they want to be represented and governed."
And the Chamber has called upon its legislative affairs committee members to call up state representatives and make a final push to allow the people to vote.
Senator Freddie Powell Sims said she did her part by getting the bill through the Senate, but would not interfere with the actions of her colleagues in the house.