Legislative Notebook: State aims to sell Sports Hall of Fame building

March 13, 2013 

The state of Georgia is formally asking the Legislature for permission to sell the Sports Hall of Fame building in Macon, and the probable buyer is familiar.

The Development Authority of Bibb County likely will be the formal buyer but get funding from NewTown Macon, the public-private partnership that aims to revitalize downtown, said Mike Ford, NewTown’s president and CEO.

The Senate State Institutions and Property Committee on Wednesday added the building to House Resolution 205 by state Rep. Jay Neal, R-LaFayette, which contains the annual list of properties that the state has deemed surplus and wants to sell.

The authority will continue to rent the building until January 2014. State Sen. David Lucas, D-Macon, a committee member, said by then the bonds on the building will amount to about $200,000 which the buyer must pay. On top of that, there’s the purchase price of the building, which has not yet been set. An appraisal will be triggered once the state House and Senate give their formal approval to House Resolution 205. The list of buildings for sale also includes the old Macon Regional Youth Detention Center.

Vote on hold for driver’s ed cash

A bill renewing a 5 percent fee on traffic fines statewide probably should channel at least some of that $10 million in annual revenue to teen driver’s education, according to several members of the House Motor Vehicles Committee. But it’s not clear how to do that, given a state’s constitutional ban on earmarks.

Senate Bill 231 renews the nearly decade-old Joshua’s Law, which set up testing requirements for teen driver’s licenses, as well as the 5 percent fee, intending that the cash should train school students. But the Legislature has not decided to spend much of the money that way, and both Republicans and Democrats are proposing fixes such as mandating that the fines be rolled back if they’re not spent on driver’s education.

Committee Chairman Tom Rice, R-Norcross, suspended action on the bill after discussion during Wednesday’s committee meeting and said an amended version is likely.

-- Maggie Lee

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