ATLANTA -- By a vote of 49-2, the Georgia Senate agreed Monday to merge Payne City into Macon-Bibb County.
The bill still needs approval from the House and Gov. Nathan Deal to take effect.
In 2012, the enclave of a few blocks near Freedom Park voted 9-7 to reject consolidation with Macon-Bibb County. Macon-Bibb County voters approved consolidation with 57 percent of the vote.
Last year, Payne City’s mayor and City Council voted to ask the Legislature to abolish their city, a former mill town with about 215 people.
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That’s why state Sen. David Lucas, D-Macon, Payne’s only senator, said he wrote the bill.
Senate Bill 11 will meet opposition in the House from state Rep. James Beverly, D-Macon, who represents part of Payne City.
“We should never interfere with the sovereign right of people to vote,” he said Monday.
Last year, Payne City officials sent Beverly a certified letter asking for the merger. But the lawmaker said then that he thought voters ought to have final say.
“Even if both mayors and councils say they want to abolish it, I’ve always maintained -- and still maintain -- that if a plurality of the voters say they want to abolish it, I’ll do that tomorrow,” Beverly said at the time.
Payne City has fewer than 100 registered voters, who could be polled door to door, Beverly said last year. He said he understood that holding a new formal election on that single question would be expensive, so he’d settle for a clear result from canvassing.
Payne City’s small list of functions got even smaller this year when it turned over its independent water and sewer system to the Macon Water Authority.
The city still collects property taxes and some fees.