Bibb County commissioners Tuesday announced they will call a work session to discuss how, or whether, they can close underused recreation complexes that are slated to receive expensive upgrades.
Commissioners voted to approve the list of parks and their funding, and they supported the special purpose local option sales tax referendum thats covering the cost of improving recreation facilities. But theyve made little secret of their thoughts that some parks are too small to be viable.
After hearing a presentation on a plan for the countys recreation department, Commissioner Lonzy Edwards asked if the plan would recommend consolidation or closure of facilities.
It needs to be an option on the table at some point in time, said consultant Peggy Thompson of ZT3 Placemaker Studio Inc.
Edwards replied, Seems to me that needs to be done sooner rather than later.
Commission Chairman Sam Hart verified Edwards was talking about closure before renovations are done.
County Attorney Virgil Adams said state law will constrain whether projects can be scaled back.
You cant decide not to build something because you decide theres a better way to do it, Adams said.
The legal standard is whether projects are no longer feasible. The Georgia Supreme Court struck down an attempt by Floyd County commissioners to build a facility on a better site, saying the commission didnt have the authority not to build on a location in a flood plain that had been discussed in public. Bibb Countys SPLOST, meanwhile, listed specific parks to get upgrades, and the governments of Macon and Bibb County voted on lists of specific parks with specific dollar amounts.
The commissioners meeting also will review the draft master recreation plan. That proposal repeats some recommendations discussed in earlier venues, such as partnering with private organizations and the school system, or offering more classes to get revenue.
Commissioners on Tuesday offered little discussion of the draft master plan, though earlier in their morning work session they criticized their recreation director, Dale Doc Dougherty, for not having a coherent plan. Dougherty will return to commissioners later after further developing his proposal to run an amateur boxing program at Freedom Park.
Insurance plan approved
Separately, commissioners voted 3-2 to approve a health insurance plan for a consolidated Macon-Bibb County government. Commissioners Lonzy Edwards and Joe Allen were opposed.
Consultant Jimmy Hinson of BB&T Insurance Services said the Blue Cross/Blue Shield health insurance would cost the consolidated government $902 per month per employee, down from $1,004 per month now.
Those figures do not include employee contributions to their insurance policies.
To contact writer Mike Stucka, call 744-4251.