Working fast, Macon City Council moved a resolution sponsored by members Henry Ficklin, Henry Gibson, Elaine Lucas, Lonnie Miley and James Timley from new business to a final vote in the same night.
It opposes a bill proposed by state Sen. Cecil Staton, R-Macon, that seeks to take away taxing authority from the Bibb County Board of Education. The Bibb County Commission passed a similar resolution last week.
Lucas likened the measure to councils recent opposition to making the new city-county government nonpartisan. Its not the time to fiddle with the school system, she said.
Councilwoman Beverly K. Olson was the only no vote.
Council agreed to spend $740,819.84 on 26 new police cars and associated equipment.
The 21 V-6 Dodge Chargers will cost $479,220, and five V-8 Chargers will cost $116,190. Theyre all from Five Star Chrysler Dodge. Along with that goes $145,409.84 to West Chatham Warning Devices Inc. to equip the cars.
Council members voted unanimously for the purchases, after hearing assurances Monday from Bibb County Sheriff David Davis that he approves. City police will become sheriffs deputies when city and county governments merge in January 2014.
The Daybreak center will get $75,642 from a federal Community Development Block Grant for roof work, building a covered porch and adding a pavilion. Council unanimously approved forwarding the grant to Daybreak, which provides education, health and other services to several hundred homeless.
The center opened in November in a 6,000-square-foot former warehouse at 174 Walnut St. Now, the inside has been fully renovated, Sister Elizabeth Greim, executive director of Daybreak, told the council Community Resources & Development Committee on Tuesday.
All the programs we said we would have running are now running, she said. But the exterior, especially the roof, now needs work, Greim said.
Private garbage fee
All private garbage haulers will now have to pay a $300 annual franchise fee to work in Macon. Council unanimously approved the ordinance authored by Timley, who said privately owned waste trucks cause heavy wear on city streets and other facilities and should pay extra.
Ficklin, a co-sponsor, added that such trucks contaminate local air.
State road authority
After long resistance, council agreed that the city will take over mowing, cleanup and maintenance on nearly 61 miles of state roads within city limits. In exchange, the state will pay about $157,000 for the work. Thats not expected to cover all the costs, but the agreement is far less than the state originally asked. Timley cast the only dissenting vote.
Macon Transit Authority will continue to manage its Terminal Station home until the new consolidated government takes office, under a short-term lease council approved after months of wrangling. The previous lease and management deal expired at the end of February.
Local residents and groups will be able to use 23 vacant city properties as community gardens for vegetables, flowers or trees, under a resolution sponsored by Watkins and Councilman Tom Ellington and.
The parcels are too small to be developed, and can be used for an annual fee of $10.
Lucas asked if vegetables raised there can be sold. Watkins said they can be given away or used in a community kitchen, but not for profit.
During councils public-comment period, a lineup of people sought to speak about the investigation into the fatal shooting of Sammie Junebug Davis Jr., but Timley cut the speeches short.
It is standard practice to limit speakers on any particular subject to three people, Timley told the crowd. When several who came tried loudly to argue, he didnt hesitate.
Officer, I want them out of here, Timley said, banging his gavel and motioning to the policeman on duty in the chamber.
The Rev. Frank Ray called for patience, but Morning Roast co-hosts Anthony Harris and Irving Martinez called for firing the officer involved in the shooting; Harris predicted revolution, and called police, council, Mayor Robert Reichert and District Attorney David Cooke incompetent.
Officer Clayton Sutton killed Davis, a 49-year-old schizophrenic man, by shooting him three times in the chest Dec. 21 in front of the Pio Nono Avenue Kroger. Davis was not found to have a weapon, but Sutton told investigators he was cut during the encounter.
Macon police turned the case over to the GBI, which gave its report to Cooke on Feb. 28. Cooke said last week he expects to announce his conclusions in two to three weeks.
To contact writer Jim Gaines, call 744-4489.