The city of Macon and Bibb County beat Wednesday’s deadline to apply for a Justice Assistance Grant, but both governments still haven’t agreed on how to split the money.
The city and the county have not settled a dispute over how to split the $128,482 from the annual grant from the U.S. Department of Justice.
County officials wanted a 50-50 split, but city officials argued Macon should get 80 percent of the funding, based on Department of Justice data that says about 80 percent of major crimes happen within the city limits.
Negotiations between Macon Chief Administrative Officer Thomas Thomas and his county counterpart, Steve Layson, have ground to a halt over the past few weeks, with neither side willing to budge.
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Since then, Macon Mayor Robert Reichert and Bibb County Commission Chairman Sam Hart have taken over the negotiations.
Andrew Blascovich, Reichert’s spokesman, said the two entities are allowed to apply for the grant without having the money earmarked for something specific.
“It buys us more time to negotiate,” Blascovich said. “(Hart and Reichert) have been discussing that there may be something they can fully fund together, and maybe not splitting the money at all.”
Layson said local officials may have several months to work out the split.
“There’s some conversation still to be had. The option’s still open,” he said.
Layson said county officials want to use their share of the money toward drug court, where about 80 percent of participants come from within the city limits.
In the past, the city and the county have split the JAG money equally, but last year the city received 60 percent of the grant. Last year’s grant amount was $572,000, with more money being awarded than usual because it included federal stimulus money.
The federal government typically calls for an 80-20 split, but federal officials said Macon and Bibb County are “disparate,” partially because of the county’s funding for the courts.
Telegraph writer Mike Stucka contributed to this report. To contact writer Phillip Ramati, call 744-4334.