LEWISTON — Gene Geiger, chairman of the Lewiston-Auburn Joint Charter Commission, doesn’t have a favorite name for a combined Twin Cities, but he’s hoping everyone else in the community does.

“I have a sense of where it might go, but I’ll be the last person to weigh in,” Geiger said. “In the end, it’s not my choice, anyway. In the end, the community should be called what the community collectively thinks is the most comfortable and best for us.”

The commission is collecting suggestions for what to name a combined city should voters favor a new charter at the polls. It has set up an online survey to collect suggestions at the website newlacharter.ning.com.

“We want this to be a way to engage the community and hope they find it interesting to play with the idea of what we should be called,” Geiger said. “We’re just letting people type in what they want and then, whether we’ve gotten five or 500 suggestions, we’ll figure out what the top ones are.”

The online survey went live last week, and Geiger began promoting it just before the July 4 weekend.

 “The next phase would be to take the top three, five or seven suggestions and put them on a drop-down menu and let everyone pick their favorite,” Geiger said.

Twin Cities voters selected the six Charter Commission members in 2014. They’ve spent the past two years researching and discussing methods to combine Lewiston and Auburn, reviewing charters and meeting with residents and officials.

The group has no deadline, no budget and no staff. Whatever plans it comes up with will go to the public for debate and an eventual vote.

The name is one of the main things the Charter Commission needs to settle before it sends the matter to the polls. According to state law, the commission also needs to draft a charter, tally up each city’s debts and assets, and choose a location for city offices.

The group finished the first draft of the charter in January. The charter describes the most basic aspects of merging Lewiston and Auburn to form one city. The commission also has released a baseline report on how both cities currently operate, how much they spend and their financial situations.

Voters will eventually go to the polls to decide on the commission’s proposed charter, which was released in January. If a majority of voters in both cities agree to combine, the cities would begin organizing the new combined Lewiston-Auburn.

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