Macon-Bibb commissioners review new city-county laws

Reichert hopes for swift approval, expects changes later

jgaines@macon.comDecember 18, 2013 

In about two hours Wednesday, most of the recently elected Macon-Bibb County Commission members thumbed through chapter after chapter of proposed ordinances for the new government, which takes over from the current city and county governments at the new year.

Mayor-elect Robert Reichert said he wants commissioners to adopt the entire code of ordinances and new personnel policies as a package at their inaugural meeting Dec. 31.

“I hope we’ll adopt it without any discussion that day,” he said. “That way we’ve got something to amend going forward.”

While commissioners may immediately want changes, they need to have something in place when current governments and their laws go away, Reichert said.

Early in Wednesday’s meeting, discussion hung up briefly on a proposed change to city policy: allowing department heads to move up to $10,000 between line items in their departmental budgets. The city limit on such moves has been $5,000, said Macon Councilwoman Elaine Lucas, District 3 commissioner-elect.

Macon interim Chief Administrative Officer Dale Walker said the $10,000 limit provides flexibility, especially during the time when department heads are still figuring out how the new government will work.

“Typically, in other cities that’s the way it’s done,” he said.

Lucas said the $10,000 limit is too high and that at least notification to the commission should be required.

Ted Baggett, of the University of Georgia’s Carl Vinson Institute of Government, which has worked for months reconciling city and county ordinances, said many sections essentially were unchanged because city and county laws didn’t conflict or didn’t overlap. There were some differences, especially in areas like garbage collection. But in many cases, consultants and the task force working on consolidation let those differences between the former city and unincorporated county stand, he said.

Bibb Commissioner Bert Bivins, District 5 commissioner-elect, said those remaining differences need to be ironed out. While that’s true, Baggett said, consultants and the task force decided that the new elected officials should make those choices.

District 9 Commissioner-elect Al Tillman was the only commission member absent Wednesday.

To contact writer Jim Gaines, call 744-4489.

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