Bibb County officials are balking at a $1.2 million request for equipment for its new recreation department.
During a committee meeting Tuesday, commissioners were skeptical of the scale of the proposed cost, which was nearly double the amount set aside for recreation equipment in last years sales-tax referendum.
Chief Administrative Officer Steve Layson said the list should be seen as a maximum wish list to begin with. Layson said he would try to trim the equipment list, some of which needs to be bought soon to be ready for the countys takeover of recreation duties from the city in Macon in July.
Were probably going to shoot low and may have to ask for more at a later point, but Id rather shoot low and not have a bunch of employees or equipment we might not need, Layson said.
Macons recreation portion of its parks and recreation department transfers to the county July 1, along with four other departments.
Dale Doc Dougherty, director of the Macon Parks and Recreation Department, told The Telegraph that none of the antiquated city equipment is expected to transfer to the county. Dougherty asked only for the kind of equipment hes already using.
Backhoe, dump truck, forklift, none of that stuffs coming with us, Dougherty said. Come July 1st, if we dont have that stuff, were limited in what were going to be able to do.
The county will become responsible for 33 city parks, consisting of some 700 acres.
Bibb County Chairman Sam Hart told The Telegraph that the list would be further scrutinized, but he said some of Doughertys concerns -- such as needing five crew-cab trucks for five crews -- made sense.
I think there are some things we have to buy, Hart said.
If the cost of recreation equipment exceeds the $653,000 allocated from sales-tax funds, Hart said, other sales-tax money set aside for other equipment purchases could help. But that would leave less money for the other equipment such as patrol cars.
It will still have some impact on the general fund budget, Hart said.
Tuesday, commissioners voted to have Layson seek bids for the recreation equipment, but they did not specify what items would be purchased. The departments request covers nearly $1.18 million worth of equipment needed for July 1 operations, as well as another $349,000 needed later for things as varied as alarm systems, water slides and swimming pool resurfacing.
Separately Tuesday, Bibb County commissioners voted to pass a package of benefits for Macon employees transferring to the countys employment on July 1. About 69 city employees who are already part of the city pension plan would keep those pensions, which the county would fund. About 25 city employees who havent yet been vested in the city pension fund would become eligible for county pensions in less than the regular 10 years, with credit for their time with the city government.
Those employees would not get vacation time for their first six months on the county payroll, which will be considered a probationary period. The city will pay employees for unused vacation time, and may pay employees for unused sick time.
An earlier version of this story contained an error about how city employees' vacation time would be handled. That error has been corrected.
To contact writer Mike Stucka, call 744-4251.