A motion calling for a referendum on plans for a unitary authority in Cornwall has been rejected in a special meeting of county councillors.
Four councillors were pressing for the public to vote on the matter.
The council said it could not legally hold a referendum and was carrying out a full public consultation instead.
Cornwall is among 16 authorities whose bids for unitary status have been shortlisted for further consideration by the Government.
Under a unitary council, the authority would run everything, from social services to planning, rubbish collections to leisure facilities.
The government said that, if successful and subject to the Parliamentary process, those who succeed in getting the unitary status were expected to be operational by April 2009.
If approved, district councils in Cornwall would disappear.
Five of six district councils facing abolition in the county are conducting their own opinion polls on the issue.
The county council claims unitary status would give Cornwall a coherent voice and save money by reducing bureaucracy and duplication of services.
The final decision is being taken by the Government in July.