The consolidated Macon-Bibb County government isnt yet born, but its already having an identity crisis. The Laws Committee of the task force working on the new entity spent 20 minutes this week trying to decide exactly what our local government was, is and will be.
The very first paragraph of House Bill 1171, the legislation local voters approved July 31, seems pretty clear at first: Consolidation is to create and incorporate a new political body corporate under the name Macon-Bibb County.
But Committee member Pearlie Toliver noted that legislators terminology even within the bill is a bit inconsistent. As various committee members said, Bibb County is actually a division of the state and, like other consolidated governments, surely will continue to be marked on maps and license plates as Bibb, not Macon-Bibb. Furthermore, officials such as the sheriff and coroner are mandated by the state constitution -- so will they still identify themselves as Bibb County officials, while local offices go by the name Macon-Bibb?
Assistant City Attorney Stuart Morelli said when he worked in Athens-Clarke County, constitutional officers there decided individually what to call their jobs.
Sheriff David Davis put in that his deputies new badges will still say Bibb County, but emblazoned on their patrol cars will be serving Macon-Bibb County. The suggestion that the new government adopt corporate shorthand DBA, for Bibb County doing business as Macon-Bibb County, drew a laugh but didnt settle anything.
The committees next meeting is set for 1:30 p.m. Feb. 20. On that agenda, Chairman Jeffery Monroe said, will be a line-item for who are we and what do we call ourselves?
Going around and around
Bibb County commissioners on Wednesday endorsed a Georgia Department of Transportation roundabout at Thomaston, Lamar and Johnson roads, but they were wary of setting a precedent.
You realize what youre doing here? Commissioner Gary Bechtel asked County Engineer Dave Fortson. Youre increasing the opportunity for others in the county
The commissioners are vehemently opposed to a traffic circle on Eisenhower Parkway at Fulton Mill Road, which, if state officials get their way, reportedly could become the only such circle on a four-lane road in Georgia. Commissioner Joe Allen, who represents that area of Bibb County, said a multi-lane roundabout makes no sense.
Im not buying it. Im not buying a roundabout on a four-lane highway where youve got traffic at 60, 70 miles an hour, Allen said.
And commissioners several times invoked the name of Lindsay Doc Holliday, a Macon road activist who is seeking to cancel a widening of Forest Hill Road by suing the state Department of Transportation.
The transition team trying to consolidate Macon and Bibb County governments has scheduled more meetings.
The Technology Committee is slated to meet at 3 p.m. Tuesday, followed by the Finance Committee at 7 a.m. Wednesday.
On Feb. 20, the Human Resources Committee is slated to meet at 10 a.m., followed by the Laws Committee at 1:30 p.m. and the Finance Committee at 2:30 p.m. Those committee meetings will be followed by a 3:30 p.m. meeting of the full consolidation task force.
The Human Resources Committee also is scheduled to meet at 1 p.m. Feb. 21.
All meetings will be held in the offices of the Middle Georgia Regional Commission, 175 Emery Highway, Macon.
-- Telegraph writers Jim Gaines and Mike Stucka contributed to this report.