Macon City Council on Tuesday unanimously approved three new rules on dealing with rundown and abandoned properties.
A resolution from Council President James Timley urges use of all legal options for the city to get hold of abandoned or blighted property and turn it over to redevelopers, probably passing it through the Macon-Bibb County Land Bank Authority; and establishment of a public database of blighted or abandoned properties to attract developers with ideas.
And two resolutions from Councilman Tom Ellington would let neighborhood groups volunteer to clean up trash and overgrown lots, and allow city departments to contract with nonprofit or even for-profit organizations to demolish abandoned houses.
This doesnt abrogate any property rights, Ellington said at an afternoon committee meeting. This still requires due process.
Several community groups have approached him, asking to clear overgrown or cluttered lots in their own neighborhoods, he said. The resolution would give those groups city approval for doing so, once the properties had been formally declared a nuisance, Ellington said.
He acknowledged that the city only has four months of independent existence left, but said the new policy may well remain in force under the consolidated Macon-Bibb County government.
If we have something that makes sense in our code theres a very good chance that it will be carried forward, Ellington said.
It can cost thousands of dollars to tear down condemned houses, and while Public Works can do so more cheaply than most, contracting with groups such as Habitat for Humanity might save a few dollars -- and get to them faster than already-busy city crews can, he said.
Council approved buying replacement seats for half of the Macon Coliseum from Irwin Seating Co. for $831,484. Thats the same company that provided the first half of replacement seating this year.
Councilwoman Elaine Lucas used the item to call for a renewed push for including minority- and women-owned companies in city contracts; but Ellington noted that only three firms in North America supply the required seating, and all three were asked for bids.
The purchase is funded by the special purpose local option sales tax that voters approved in November 2011.
The SPLOST includes about $5 million for work on the coliseum and City Auditorium, split over two fiscal years.
Cherokee Brick & Tile Co. now has a new contract to buy methane gas from the city landfill through the start of the new government. Council approved a renewed contract, which gives the city a slight increase on the $100,000 per year it usually receives, Public Works Director Richard Powell told council members last week.
The current contract would run out in December; the new one lasts for five years, but must be ratified by the new government before July 1, 2014, or it will automatically terminate.
To contact writer Jim Gaines, call 744-4489.