MACON, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) - There are more than 150,000 Bibb County citizens, but only a few of them showed up at Monday night's public hearing on the school district's budget.
The district has to overcome an $18.7 million deficit. Some school consolidations and mergers were considered, but those were pushed back until later on after public outcry.
Still, the system plans to cut several positions throughout the district and classroom sizes are expected to increase.
Interim superintendent, Dr. Steve Smith, says people may not have shown up Monday because a tentative budget was already approved last week.
"On the front end of the process, we probably need to have some public forums where we get more input prior to formulating the budgets," says Smith, "as opposed to waiting until after we present the tentative budget, and then hearing the response."
Smith says another reason turnout was low might be because there's no tax increase in the budget.
Bibb Schools' Listening Sessions
If you want to voice your concerns over the budget or anything else within the school district, the interim superintendent will host two listening sessions this week.
"You'll have parents, you'll have the business community, and you'll have some students there," says Smith. "I'm primarily interesting in knowing what are we doing in the school system that we shouldn't be doing and what are we not doing in the school system that we should be doing."
Both sessions will be at Central High School in Macon. The first one is Tuesday night at 6:30 and the other is Thursday morning at 9:30.
The board is expected to adopt a final budget on June 24.
MACON, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) -- The city of Macon is preparing for Mercer Bear fans to take over downtown and that may mean allowing you to drink in the streets.
Macon Mayor Robert Reichert says when football returns to Macon it's going to be a game-changer. So, he decided to appoint someone to tackle some big issues like parking, transportation, and drinking.
That's where Clay Murphey comes in. He's leading a group coined the "Football Task Force." It's comprised of community leaders and members of EMA, law enforcement, fire, etc.
"The whole idea of the task force was to make sure that the experience that a visitor or somebody from Macon has regarding Mercer football is over the top," said Murphey.
The group is looking to provide more parking to fans in garages like the one attached to the Wells Fargo building, and working with MTA to provide shuttle service to and from the stadium.
If Macon City Council gives it the go-ahead, tailgaters will be allowed to carry and drink liquor in the streets on game days.
Macon resident, Richard Brown is not a fan of allowing fans to consume liquor outside of restaurants.
"People get tilted, and then they're walking around and drinking and then you have an accidents and then you got people walking around, pedestrians and you know that's not setting a good example when you got little kids and stuff," said Brown.
24-year-old Trey Long supports the idea. He doesn't drink, but thinks it'd bring a lot more foot traffic to the downtown area on game days.
"I think that if you start enforcing laws on people not being able to drink people are going to start breaking the laws in order to drink, and that's just going to cause more problems," said Long.
Restaurants have already experienced what it's like to have people floating in and out with liquor in hand. Events like First Friday and the Cherry Blossom Street Party allow people to drink and walk.
"We love it, we think it brings people downtown," said Roger Riddle, Director of Marketing for the Moonhanger Group.
Moonhanger owns the Rookery, and Riddle says as long as people are playing it safe, the Rookery supports it.
"This past summer we had the Macon Beer Festival which was a huge success, and we're gearing up for the second one this summer. There were no problems at all. I don't see why it should be a problem during football while people are out celebrating the city and Mercer University," said Riddle.
The mayor is expecting to present a drafted proposal on the liquor law exception to council in the next few weeks.
MILLEDGEVILLE, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) – Milledgeville police made several arrests on Friday in two different cases after receiving a tip of illegal activity going on inside a vacant Milledgeville Housing Authority residence.
According to a news release from Major Reggie Hill, MPD learned there were people inside an empty MHA home. Investigators searched 1129 Oconee Street and Hill stated there was a strong odor of marijuana coming from inside the residence.
Police found five people inside and none of them had permission to be there. Jailyn Boyer, Ravon Reeves, Jolvne Watkins, Branna Duncan, and Bianca Fields were arrested. They were charged with interference with government property and criminal trespass. Hill says one suspect escaped through a broken window. Police have identified that person and Hill says appropriate charges will be taken.
When officers first arrived at the scene, Hill states the back door of the residence next to that home was open. Once the scene was secured, officers noticed the door to 1131 Oconee Street was closed and that raised suspicion.
Hill says officers went into the home and found an estimated four pounds of marijuana, scales, and a stolen firearm. MPD arrested Ladamius King, Dextric Harris of Fort Valley, and Kuryakie Courcney Holley of Bonaire.
All three suspects were charged with possession of a firearm during the commission of a crime, possession of marijuana with intent to distribute, possession of marijuana with the intent to distribute within 1,000 feet of a federal housing authority, criminal trespass, and interference with a government property. King was also charged with an additional criminal trespass and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.
Hill says Milledgeville residents in that area should fell safer now that the police got several pounds of illegal drugs and a firearm off the streets.
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