Consolidation still a big topic for the city - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Consolidation still a big topic for the city

January 2, 2007

Albany  -- Albany City Commissioners say they don't want years of research to go to waste by dismissing the possibility of consolidation. They plan to continue their research and hope one day to bring the proposed charter for a consolidated Government to the voters.

Twice a month the Albany City Commission meets to work on issues that effect citizens. now there will be a new item on every agenda: the proposed consolidation charter.

Commissioner Bob Langstaff says, "I think the way to do it is break the charter down into bite size chunks so people can read a small amount and come to a work session and be prepared to ask questions about it and express views from their constituents."

The county already voted on the charter, but didn't vote to pass or kill it. Now the city wants to take time getting to know just what's in the charter, and change anything that wouldn't be beneficial.

Commissioner Jon Howard says, "What we hope to do is have a better understanding of the charter."

Commissioner Morris Gurr adds, "Our process right now is not about consolidation. It's about continuing the process with the charter to get it to the next stage which would hopefully get it to the General Assembly for their approval."

And make sure it's not a waste of time bringing the current charter to voters. Langstaff says, "Even if we pass it on the voters, if we don't have buy in from the city and county leaders it's not going to go anywhere anyway. I don't want to send it to the voters and have it fail. If we're going to send it, we need to give it every chance it's got."

There are only four departments in Albany and Dougherty County that aren't utilized by both Governments-- Human resources, finance, police and public works. But there are lots of issues that would come about with the new government.

Some that have already come out are concerns over districts, non-partisan elections and the salary for commissioners.

Commissioners will break the charter down by sections and discuss each at the end of every work session, until they have worked through it, and made changes they feel are necessary.

They hope the county commission will do the same and that both bodies will pass the charter along to the General Assembly for the 2008 session.

Feedback: news@walb.com?subject=Consolidation/KC