The months-long scrap between Macon City Council and the Macon-Bibb County Workforce Investment Board over liability for the Workforce boards finances will go on, as council narrowly defeated a contract resolution Tuesday night that would have settled some disputed points.
Leading the opposition was Councilwoman Elaine Lucas, who alleged that the contract wouldnt really cut the citys legal liability. Her rambling denunciation likened the Workforce issue to city-county government consolidation, which Lucas also opposes, and returned to her anger that the agencys focus has shifted to technical job training instead of providing summertime jobs for teenagers.
The resolution failed 7-6, with council members Henry Ficklin, Henry Gibson, Lucas, Lonnie Miley, James Timley and Frank Tompkins voting no. A two-thirds yes vote is required for passage.
Council members Lauren Benedict, Ed DeFore, Tom Ellington, Beverly K. Olson, Larry Schlesinger, Virgil Watkins and Nancy White supported it, while councilmen Rick Hutto and Charles Jones were absent.
The intergovernmental agreement between the city, Bibb County and Workforce splits liability for any misspent Workforce funds between the city and county, Assistant City Attorney Stuart Morelli said Monday. Right now, as designated fiscal agent for Workforces $1.3 million in annual federal funding, the city would bear all liability for reimbursement. No such misspending has been alleged.
The Macon Water Authority will manage contracts and construction on $7 million in stormwater improvement projects, council members agreed 13-1.
Ficklin cast the only negative vote, taken prior to Jones departure from the meeting.
The water authority proposes to charge only its actual cost, a fraction of what a private management firm would likely seek. The agreement was proposed in August but tabled, and won committee endorsement after addition of language guaranteeing the encouragement of bids from minority-owned and local firms.
The director of the water authority has assured us that will happen, and I certainly hope they will stand by what theyve said, Miley said.
DeFore, a water authority board member, said hell make sure thats done. Ficklin said he has confidence in the water authoritys management, but opposed the contract because he thinks the project oversight should also be thrown open for bid.
Councilman Frank Tompkins ordinance setting road rules for wheelchairs and motorized scooters passed without opposition. It says they should generally be treated as pedestrians: using sidewalks and crosswalks whenever available, obeying pedestrian signals and moving against the direction of car traffic when forced to use the shoulder of the road.
But on streets with speed limits of 35 mph or below, electric wheelchairs and scooters could be treated as vehicles, moving with other motorized traffic on shoulders or in bicycle lanes; again, assuming no sidewalk is accessible.
The ordinance says the city would strongly encourage front, rear and side reflectors, brakes, and a sound alert of some kind, and authorize -- though not fund -- a discount program for reflectors.
To contact writer Jim Gaines, call 744-4489.