Gary Bechtel has won a clear victory for North Bibb County’s District 1 commission seat.
Bechtel, a Bibb County commissioner who served on the school board for 12 years, defeated political newcomer Harold J. Young 3,754 to 815 votes in Tuesday’s first election for the consolidated Macon-Bibb County government.
Bechtel, 53, said winners in Tuesday’s election and coming runoff elections have their work cut out for them as they wrestle with a balanced budget that includes mandated cuts without raising taxes. He said an equal priority is making Macon-Bibb County attractive to new businesses and a fertile place for growing new jobs.
Bechtel said the success of the new government and of Macon and Bibb County depends on the level of cooperation among officials and their willingness to “do the courageous things we need to do in the next six months and next three years.” The initial term for the mayor and commissioners is three years.
“I look forward to playing a leadership role working with our mayor in coming up with a balanced budget,” Bechtel said. “I thank those who voted for me and supported me for the past 13 years on the school board and as commissioner. They know I’ll work hard to make sure their vote counts. They know I’m a conservative and look to make good financial decisions now and in the future for all our future.”
Bechtel spoke highly of Young, calling him a gentleman. He said Young brought new ideas to the race.
Young, 49, said though it was his first political race, it likely won’t be his last.
“I wish my opponent and all the winners all the luck in leading Macon and Bibb County,” Young said. “There was nothing negative about (the race). I met a lot of neighbors and new friends and only got involved to make a difference. If that opportunity rolls around again, I’m sure I’ll take it.”
Bechtel is in the commercial mortgage business. Young is a marketing manager.