EDITORIAL: Oops. We forgot to check the calendar

November 13, 2013 

“Prior to the effective date of this charter, all powers vested in Bibb County, the City of Macon, or the City of Payne City, or any of their respective officers, agents, or agencies shall remain in full force and effect. Upon such effective date, the board of commissioners of Bibb County, the mayor and council of the City of Macon, the mayor and council of the City of Payne City, and the offices of all members thereof shall stand abolished, and all emoluments appertaining thereto shall cease.”

Well, not exactly.

In the original legislation passed during the 2012 session, it can be construed that on Jan. 1, 2014, the city of Macon and Bibb County cease to exist as separate entities. The portion of the city that lies in Jones County will be “deannexed” and will become part of unincorporated Jones County. But, also according to the charter, the commissioners and City Council members will hold office until Jan. 13, 2014. The new nine member commission and mayor won’t take office until Jan. 14. There is much to be done in the two weeks between the first of the year and the middle of January. Conceivably, some of that work would fall to officials that, as a body, don’t exist.

So what to do? Section 35 of the new charter states: “This charter may be modified, rescinded, changed, or amended by only the following methods: (1) An Act of the General Assembly of Georgia; or (2) An ordinance adopted by the commission of Macon-Bibb County, Georgia, as provided for in Article IX, Section II, Paragraph I of the Constitution of the State of Georgia.” (Home rule for counties).

The legislative session doesn’t begin until Monday, Jan. 13, so that’s no help. Mayor-elect Robert Reichert discussed the predicament with the local legislative delegation on Tuesday and said he may have to take the issue to court. He asked the very same legislators who pushed the measure to join him. Even though a transition team has been hard at work since September 2012 trying to make the transition easier, there will be other issues that will need to be dealt with.

While Payne City is mentioned throughout the charter, it declined to be included in consolidation. Payne City residents were allowed to vote for mayor of the new government, but were not included in any of the nine commission districts. That decision could come back to haunt the tiny enclave when taxes become due. This a prime example of no legislation being perfect.

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