City/County consolidation needs research - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

City/County consolidation needs research

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October 14, 2002

Albany - The consolidation of the city and county governments won't happen in Dougherty County without a study into the pros and cons. Dougherty County leaders want an unbiased look into unifying the city and county governments, an issue first brought up nearly 3 decades ago.

Talk about consolidation raised important questions with county commissioners on Monday. Only 3 Georgia counties have a unified city-county government. Commissioner swant to see if consolidation would save time and money here in Albany.

The phone rings at the Planning and Development Department. The secretary answers, but doesn't say Albany Planning and Development or Dougherty County. That's because the department was consolidated more than 20 years ago.

"We handle both city and county work," said Planning and Development Director Tracy Hester. "The tax and tag, purchasing, and several other departments are unified as well."

County Attorney Spencer Lee says its impossible to be for or against consolidation without hearing all the facts. "We need a study to see if consolidation will save money, or if it's necessary at all," said Lee.

Consolidation must first be approved by the general assembly and then by you the voters. "A referendum must be approved by city and county voters," said Lee. But, it could take years before you see this issue on the ballot.

On Tuesday, city commissioners plan to vote on a resolution asking the general assembly to advice them on consolidation. However, county commissioners say they won't take the issue to legislators until after a study is completed.

Posted at 4:53 by kathryn.murchison@walb.com