The Bibb County Commission voted Wednesday to conduct site inspections for all new occupational licenses and permits, as long as the inspections are done early in a businesss permit process.
After going through (planning and zoning), why should they have to come back and jump through hoops for another bureaucracy? Commissioner Lonzy Edwards, chairman of the Inspections and Fees Committee, asked during that committees meeting. I thought the whole idea with consolidation was to make government more efficient.
Tom Buttram, director of inspections and fees, proposed the new inspections similar to how his department worked while under the citys control. The idea, he said, is to have inspectors check to make sure buildings conform to building code requirements for their approved uses.
Commissioner Joe Allen suggested working hand-in-hand with fire inspectors, instead of creating another new government. Edwards also reiterated his concerns about adding more red tape for businesses.
I dont think we need to put any unnecessary impediment on businesses coming in, he said.
Buttram said there would be no problem with the inspections being part of the initial process.
Commissioner Elmo Richardson noted that the tax commissioners office routinely finds that some businesses operate without the required occupational license. He said the discussion highlights a debate about the ongoing consolidation talks.
I think one of the things were talking about with the transition team is, Are we merging two governments, or are we creating a new government? I think the consensus is were creating a new government.
Also during Wednesdays committee meetings, new Museum of Arts and Sciences Director Susan Welch gave a positive update on the museums state.
The museums $1.2 million budget is projected to be balanced and is the leanest operating budget the museum has had in 14 years, Welch said.
Were still providing high-quality, educational programs, she said,
About 40 percent of the budget is gift-reliant, while $250,000 is county funding, Welch said.
Thats about half of what the county gave the museum in funding in 2004.
We thank you for that and ask you to increase that if your budget allows, she said.
Welch admitted the museums operation has been a struggle, but it has managed to continue to offer free admission to Bibb County residents on Sundays.
Museums are closing across the country. Museums are closing across the state. Museums are closing right here, she said.
The museum is optimistic, however, that it can increase its earned income. Since $3 million in renovations were completed on the Mark Smith Planetarium, visitation has increased by 70 percent and renewed or new memberships are up 35 percent, she said, noting that a popular traveling dinosaur exhibit also was on display during that time. Also, the museum recently purchased more than $1 million in educational exhibit materials from the closed Fort Discovery museum in Augusta for $25,000, which officials plan to use in improving displays.
Meanwhile, philanthropic sponsors, Welch said, have stepped up in a big way. Commissioners, several of whom pledged at the meeting to buy memberships, acknowledged the museum will continue to need public money.
To stay true to your mission, youre going to have to have public assistance, Commissioner Bert Bivins said.
In other business Wednesday, the commission:
Approved installation of bus shelters and bus stops on Masseyville Road and Plantation Centre Drive North by the Macon Transit Authority.
Decided during its Engineering Committee to scrap plans to build an inert landfill, at least for now. The city already has an inert landfill, and state-required monitoring devices would be too costly, Edwards said.
Agreed to serve as fiscal agent for $9,375 in accountability court funding awarded to the Bibb County Mental Health Court.
Approved a janitorial services contract with Executive Cleaning of Milledgeville to clean the new engineering annex. The company is now contracted to clean 10 offices for $8,334 a month.
To contact writer Rodney Manley, call 744-4623.