The Macon City Councils Public Properties Committee approved a resolution Monday that will allow local residents or groups to use vacant city property for community gardens.
The resolution from Councilmen Tom Ellington and Virgil Watkins would allow individuals or groups to plant vegetables, flowers or tree gardens on small city-owned parcels that are too small to be used for development. The resolution establishes a set of rules and procedures for which applicants can plant a garden on one of 23 listed city properties for an annual fee of $10. The gardens are subject to certain standards laid out in the resolution.
In a separate matter, the committee approved a resolution authorizing the mayor to execute an agreement with the state Department of Transportation for design rehabilitation at Middle Georgia Regional Airport. The project will cost $134,175, to which the city will contribute $3,354.
In addition, the committee approved a second resolution that requests U.S. Sens. Saxby Chambliss and Johnny Isakson and the citys congressional representatives to introduce legislation aimed at bringing in money for runway expansion projects at the airport.
The committee also approved extending the short-term lease and management agreement with the Macon-Bibb County Transit Authority for Terminal Station through January 2014, when the new consolidated Macon-Bibb County government goes into effect. The lease was scheduled to end this month.
Earlier Monday afternoon, the councils Public Works and Engineering Committee authorized the mayor to execute a contract with the state DOT in which the agency would pay the city about $157,000 -- $3,500 per mile over 60.63 miles -- to maintain, mow and clean up the states rights of way within city limits.
Previously, the committee rejected similar legislation because the state had greater demands of the city, including ice and snow removal, road patches and shoulder maintenance. Council members didnt want the city to be exposed to higher liability and costs by performing those actions.
City Council President James Timley spoke against the amended version of the contract, arguing that the state receives taxpayer money and ought to do the work itself. However, committee Chairman Lonnie Miley said maintaining the rights of way makes the city look better and that at least Macon would be getting some money from the state to cover the costs.
Also Monday, Councilwoman Elaine Lucas said she and other council members are working on a resolution that objects to a bill proposed by state Sen. Cecil Staton that would call for the Bibb County Board of Educations taxing authority to be rescinded.
The Bibb County Commission passed a similar resolution Friday. Lucas said the city resolution should be ready for next Tuesdays City Council meeting.