Albany, Dougherty County closer to consolidation - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Albany, Dougherty County closer to consolidation

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November 14, 2006

Albany -- Both commissions met Tuesday to draft a final charter for joint government.         

For almost four years, the movement toward a consolidated Government for Albany and Dougherty County has been in the works.

Charter Commission Chairman George Brown says consolidation is the best plan for the citizens.  "I think it would be the most important decision, within next decade."

By consolidating repetitive jobs, for instance, where there are two department heads could eventually be reduced, saving the government money.  "The savings that will be generated, quality of life, I just think the advantages far outweigh, in Dougherty County," says Rep. Ed Rynders(R) District 152.

 Brown says any fears about the disenfranchisement of black voters through consolidation are unfounded. "That's really erroneous. Black representation is dictated, that would do that."

Just to be sure, laws like one person one vote, and the voting rights act, prevent any redistricting that would reduce the amount of minority participation. If consolidation did take place, the majority of districts could be represented by minorities.

"This plan is a very strong plan in that six out of nine seats would come out of districts that are minority black." says Linda Meggers, Former Chief of Staff for Legislative Redistricting Office.

But before anyone sits on the unified commission, a charter must be adopted by both governments and then eventually by you, the voters. After the two commissions pass the charter, it must be approved by the general assembly and the justice department before a referendum would take place.


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