Macons property tax rate will stay at 9.7 mills, City Council decided Tuesday.
The council voted 12-0 to keep the current rate through the end of Macons existence as an independent city. The new Macon-Bibb County consolidated government will take over in January 2014, but current city and county budgets including no expected change in tax rates run through next June.
Councilmen Tom Ellington, Charles Jones and Virgil Watkins were absent when the vote was taken. The tax rate was approved with no further discussion.
Green Side Inc. of Florida will mow and clean rights-of-way along Interstates 16 and 75, under an $86,080 contract the council approved in a 12-1 vote.
The contract promises three mowings per year, two more than the roads get now, Stephen Lawson, assistant director of the Public Works Departments grounds division, told a council committee.
The state will pay the city $157,000 per year for maintaining the 61 miles of interstate rights-of-way through the city, which isnt expected to cover the total cost.
The lone vote against the contract came from Council President James Timley, who has said the city shouldnt go along with the states move to shift maintenance obligations onto local governments. Jones, who was absent for an earlier vote, had returned to his seat before the vote on the mowing contract.
East Macon plan
The council voted 14-0, after the arrival of Watkins, to add a special section for east Macon to the citys 2011 redevelopment plan.
Legacy Builders Foundation has developed a plan over the past two years for redevelopment, especially around the Coliseum Medical Centers at the corner of Coliseum Drive and Emery Highway. A market study found the area could handle 46 to 62 new apartments or houses a year to attract younger residents with moderate rent or home prices.
Councilwoman Elaine Lucas, who represents east Macon, said she supported the plan but was concerned that it didnt include a specified source for redevelopment funding. In more than two decades on council shes seen many plans shelved because no regular funds were dedicated to them, she said.
Wanda Smith offered to give the city two pieces of land near historic Fort Hawkins, and the council accepted in a 13-0 vote.
The 1806 fort site is getting $750,000 from the special purpose local option sales tax that voters approved in November 2011, and a major portion of that is earmarked for a two-story log visitors center. A groundbreaking was held July 25, and the center is scheduled to be finished by the end of the year.
The two lots Smith donated, which total 0.38 acres, are expected to be used for parking at the visitors center.
To contact writer Jim Gaines, call 478-4489.