MACON, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) - House legislators have come to terms on a plan to consolidate city and county governments in Bibb County. The plan was formally presented in the state house today in Atlanta.
It calls for a county-wide vote on the plan on July 31, 2012. To pass, it would require a majority vote from city of Macon residents and a majority vote from the county as a whole.
If passed, the bill calls for a transition task force to begin work of forming a new government on September 1, 2012. The new government would be in effect in January 2014.
The new government would effectively eliminate the mayor and council of Macon and the Bibb County Commission and create a new solitary government covering the entire county.
The new commission would be comprised of nine commissioners, each paid $15,000 a year. The new government would also have a mayor, who would be the presiding officer of the commission, but would not have a vote. The mayor would be the executive of the new government and earn $100,000 a year. The election of these new officers would be in November 2013.
The plan aims to reduce local government spending gradually, reaching a 20% reduction by FY 2019.
The bill is sponsored by all of the state representative elected by Bibb County residents, Reps. Nikki Randall, Bubber Epps, Robert Dickey, James Beverly, and Susan Holmes.
Local Delegation Chair, Rep. Nikki Randall, released the following statement this afternoon:
The long awaited Macon-Bibb Consolidation legislation to be introduced and read for the first time today.
Rep. Nikki Randall, chairwoman of the Bibb Delegation said that, as per the request of the residents of Macon-Bibb County, the community will have the opportunity to vote on whether they want a consolidated government or not.
Last fall the delegation held a series of community hearings to discuss consolidating the communities' governing bodies. "We went out into the community to hear from residents on the issue and the request for a vote on consolidation was overwhelming. Therefore we began working on a consolidation measure" says delegation chairwoman Rep. Nikki Randall.
Although it was a long and tedious process the eight member delegation felt is necessary not to rush it rather to work diligently to craft a measure that is fair to both city and county residents. Most of the delay was in making sure that the bill was constitutionally sound, therefore there were several drafts.
The legislation is a product of hard work, and compromise with a commitment to mutual respect for each other's beliefs and opinions. I'm proud of our delegation for the manner by which we were able to work together and finally get it done.
The bill, HB1171 should be available on line today. The legislation must be adopted by both house and senate, signed by the governor prior to being submitted to the U.S. Justice Department for clearance.