ATLANTA -- In the remaining few hours of the Georgia legislative session, a majority of Bibbs five House of Representatives members signed a laundry list of changes to the Macon-Bibb County consolidated government charter, with a few last-minute additions.
With about 90 minutes to spare, the Senate agreed, 35 to 14.
A surprise trim to residency requirements to run for the first county commission could overturn expectations for the 2013 election.
Candidates will have to reside in the district as of the day of qualifying for the election, not for a year beforehand. In subsequent elections, there will be a one-year residency requirement.
Setting time frames was necessary to provide clarity where the charter is ambiguous said state Rep. Allen Peake, R-Macon,
The bill also cuts Payne City out of the consolidated government, as the enclave failed to approve joining the merger.
Both new items were hitched to House Bill 514 in the House. That bill started as a vehicle designed to carry several administrative changes requested by the Macon-Bibb Consolidation Transition Task Force, the body working to integrate the two governments operations ahead of the Jan. 1, 2014, merger.
The also bill gives legal spending powers to the consolidation task force.
So far, the task force has had to lobby either Macon City Council or the Bibb County Commission to go ahead and buy in things the unified government will need from day one, such as software that speaks to both city and county law enforcement. Consultants have suggested more than $2 million in such spending.