Bivins headed to victory in District 5 race

mlee@macon.comSeptember 17, 2013 

Political veteran Bert Bivins, III was headed to victory late Tuesday in his quest to represent west Macon on the new Macon-Bibb County Commission.

With 40 of 40 precincts reporting, Bivins had 1,466 votes in the District 5 race. Political newcomer Jon Carson had 667 votes, and Macon Councilman Louis Tompkins took 562. Some early voting and absentee tallies were still being counted late Tuesday.

Bivins, 71, has been on the County Commission since 1995. Before that, he was a teacher and an electronics worker at Robins Air Force Base. He was also one of the first black students to integrate Bibb County’s public schools.

Bivins told voters that his years of experience in government would be useful as the new government organizes itself.

Carson, 64, described himself as a little disappointed that voters chose one of “the same old” politicians.

“People had a chance to change the dirty baby diapers and they chose not to,” he said. The retired businessman had never run for office. He said he is not sure what his political future holds.

Tompkins, 70, a retired educator and a city councilman since 2011, said his life of service is not over, and he offered congratulations to Bivins.

During his campaign, Bivins focused on bringing life and economic activity back to Macon’s streets. He said he would support what he called a “neighborhood revitalization” SPLOST -- a special purpose sales tax initiative to fix derelict buildings and complete road repairs.

Carson emphasized fighting blight as a step toward economic growth and attracting investments to Macon-Bibb.

Tompkins said downtown revitalization was especially important because it’s a part of town that everyone uses.

Bivins will join a government that’s supposed to cut spending by 20 percent over five years.

He has said such a cut is not realistic because the new consolidated government will have to provide as many services as the old Macon and Bibb. Besides that, he said the county government has already trimmed its budget over the last few years.

Both Bivins and Tompkins spent nearly $3,000 on the campaign through the beginning of September, according to the last required disclosure to the state. In the same time, Carson spent $639.

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