New software assured for Macon-Bibb emergency workers

Pension plans get legal changes to prepare for city-county merger

jgaines@macon.comNovember 19, 2013 

A software package is coming from New World Systems to handle all emergency service functions in the Macon-Bibb County consolidated government. Macon City Council voted 12-0 Tuesday to authorize the purchase, about $1.9 million up front and another $1.1 million over the next few years.

Council members James Timley, Tom Ellington and Lonnie Miley were absent from the meeting.

The task force working on consolidation recommended the software package in late October, and Bibb County commissioners have already approved it.

The new system will take months to be fully implemented, but it will give police and firefighters a large amount of detailed data on each call, while automatically entering much information into various record systems for the courts and jail.

The purchase is to be paid for from special purpose local option sales tax funds, set aside for public safety needs. New World also supplied the new government’s general administration software package, which already has been installed.

Pension changes

The council voted 12-0 to modify the pension plan structure for city employees to accommodate the new government transition. The changes to the two pension plans -- one for general employees and one for police and firefighters -- mean that all current city employees will stay in the existing plans, but anyone hired after Dec. 31 will enroll in a new system similar to Bibb County’s current plan.

The changes do not affect any benefits for current employees or retirees, interim City Attorney Judd Drake said this week.

Land sales

The council agreed to sell two plots of city-owned land, one a parking lot at 412 New St. and the other an unopened stretch of Hawkinsville Avenue. The New Street lot is to be sold to the highest bidder, but the expected buyer is the American Cancer Society. That organization’s headquarters is next door at 804 Cherry St., and the cancer society expects to need more parking soon, according to the resolution.

Union Baptist Church at 1137 Kitchens St. wants to buy the adjoining stretch of Hawkinsville Avenue. A letter from the Rev. David Stanley accepts the appraised price of $5,408, but Councilman Henry Ficklin successfully sought to change those terms.

His amendment says the church “may agree to construct certain improvements for the benefit of the public and within the public right-of-way,” so the property transfer is contingent on getting cash or assurance of improvements equal to the appraised value.

Grant handovers

Two local organizations got approval to receive grant money through the city from the U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development.

Home First Housing Resource Services will get for homebuyer education and housing counseling services. Councilwoman Elaine Lucas asked in an afternoon committee meeting if the agency’s work would change under the new government.

“Our mission and goal will not change under consolidation,” Executive Director Reginald Bell said. Consolidation would let the group use more federal funds for services outside city limits, he said.

And Rebuilding Macon will get $40,000 to fund its volunteer youth program services. Wanzina Jackson, director of the city Economic & Community Development Department, said that’s for work done on local houses by high school and college students during the summer.

DUI policy

The council voted 12-0 for a resolution from Timley asking Bibb County law enforcement officials to make changes which may already be in progress.

It asks Sheriff David Davis to review the sheriff’s office DUI roadblock polices in light of the recent Georgia Supreme Court decision Williams v. Georgia, and for Bibb County State Court Solicitor Rebecca Grist to review pending DUI cases to make sure they’re “legally sufficient and appropriate for prosecution.”

In late October, Davis said he issued a directive to revamp policies in compliance with the law, which says roadblocks must be set up for a designated purpose, not as a catch-all for miscellaneous traffic offenders. New policies are to be implemented when city police merge with the sheriff’s office in January.

The Telegraph is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service