Early voting to choose leaders for Macon-Bibb Countys consolidated government is underway, but the big voting day wont come until Sept. 17. Even so, the League of Women Voters of Macon has already decided how the mayors race is going to go down.
They dont know which of the six qualified candidates will win -- or seven, if you count write-in contender Anthony Harris -- but that Election Day wont produce a final decision.
The League meets once a month, at noon on Wednesdays, usually at the Brickyard at Riverside, 6000 Wesleyan Drive North. Its September meeting there falls the day after the election. After lunch, a guest speaker or two addresses members on some political topic.
The agendas been set, but Bibb County voters will determine whos there: The mayoral run-off candidates will be the guest luncheon speakers, the Leagues meeting announcement says.
The working assumption is that none of the mayoral candidates will get a majority of votes in a first round of balloting, thus requiring a mayoral runoff Oct. 15. If there is a clear winner, does he get seconds at lunch?
Prayer where needed
The governing boards of both Bibb County and Macon routinely have prayers. Tim Steffen, senior pastor of Martha Bowman Memorial United Methodist Church, told county commissioners he recently went to the wrong place.
I mistakenly went to the City Council two weeks ago and prayed there, but I was scheduled for here, Steffen said. But they needed it worse than you.
Steffens remarks were accompanied by guffaws.
Steffens prayer called for direction and wisdom about Syria, as well as a reminder about service in our civic responsibility to this, our Macon-Bibb community.
A ceremony Thursday brought together Bibb County Commission Chairman Sam Hart, Macon Mayor Robert Reichert and former Commission Chairman Charlie Bishop for an announcement of the reinvigoration of plans for a Kumho Tire plant in south Bibb County.
Though they stood in a knot for a few minutes, all three are competing to become the first mayor of a new Macon-Bibb County government.
That wasnt the only partnership-related awkwardness during the ceremony. Macon-Bibb County Industrial Authority Chairman Cliffard Whitby compared the years-long work with Kumho to a partnership, with ups and downs. The plant has been on hold for years. Whitby tried expanding the comparison, then -- in a Central Georgia Technical College auditorium filled with top local officials -- started to reconsider how far hed take the comparison.
If you have a good strong partnership, its like a marriage. I know in my house -- Whitby started, then stalled. Never mind.
Crawford County commissioners are proposing to keep property tax rates the same as they are, at 12.53 mills in unincorporated parts of the county and 14.27 mills in the incorporated areas. A public hearing on the budget is scheduled to begin at 6 p.m. Sept. 19 in the Paul Coverdell Room of the courthouse. Copies of the budget are available in the commissioners office and at www.crawfordcountyga.org online.
The budget proposal of just over $7 million is about $361,000 higher than the current budget year.
County Manager Pat Kelly said most of the increase in the budget is due to $423,193 in road maintenance grants and a $40,000 grant to get two more warning sirens.
Not sure where to vote?
Besides Saturdays voting, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., residents of the new Macon-Bibb County governments reach can still vote early Monday through Friday next week from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. at the Board of Elections office, 2445 Pio Nono Ave.
The election day is Sept. 17.
Elections information is online, including The Telegraphs website at www.macon.com/elections and the states My Voter Page at mvp.sos.state.ga.us. Bibb County has district maps online at tinyurl.com/bibbmaps online.
For more information, call the Bibb County Board of Elections at 478-621-6622.
Writers Jim Gaines and Mike Stucka contributed to this report.