MACON, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) - An amended lease agreement between the city of Macon and Macon Transit Authority is pushed through full council as is.
Macon's Public Properties Committee voted Monday to approve a 15-year agreement that would allow the transit authority to lease historic Terminal Station from the city, but the committee removed a clause that would allow the transit authority to purchase the building at the end of the term for $1.
At Tuesday's full council meeting, Councilman Tom Ellington motioned to remove the amendment and re-insert the purchase clause, but that motion failed, 8-7.
Those in support of allowing the transit authority to purchase the building say it's because it costs the city too much to operate.
"Right now, we are responsible for half of the losses there," says Councilman Rick Hutto. "The county is responsible for the other half. If, however, we turn it over in a long-term lease to the Macon Transit Authority, they immediately take up the slack there, meaning if there are any losses they will end up being responsible for those, to the point (of which) our current 50% liability would in the long-term go down to 30%."
Those against the buyout say too many taxpayer dollars have gone into the building, and that it'd be a slap in their face to give the building away.
They also say, with consolidation just a year away, they don't understand the rush to transfer the property to the transit authority.
"There's certain people that's behind this and I don't know why," says Councilman Henry Gibson. "There's an ugly animal under why this terminal station deal has got to go through now."
Councilman Hutto says he doesn't expect the Federal Transit Authority to approve the deal with the removed purchase option, but he's looking forward to receiving feedback from them.