Albany - Albany and Dougherty County take another step toward consolidation. Commissioners unanimously agreed to form a committee to draft a new charter for a unified government.
The committee will be made up of eight people; three appointed by the Mayor, three by the county chairman. Those six members will choose two other people.
The committee will determine how to combine the city and county police, finance, public works, and human resource departments. They'll also decide how many commissioners will make up the new government and redraw the voting districts.
"I think it's a step in the right direction," said City Commissioner Jon Howard. "We realize that government has changes in the last few months, and I think the citizens in this community are looking for change."
County commissioner Brenda Robinson Cutler says she hasn't made up her mind on consolidation, but say the voters should decided. "It's time that both bodies start working together," said Robinson-Cutler. "We don't really think that consolidation will work, but both bodies do need to get together on this because that's what the citizens want."
The original 20 member consolidation study commission recommended consolidation and stated it would save money and time. Commissioners voted to disband that committee.
Before the city and county can consolidation, both commissions must pass the new charter. Then, the general assembly must agree to allow a referendum on consolidation. Voters would ultimately decide on the issue. The Justice Department would also have to approve the new voting districts. The process could take years.