WARNER ROBINS -- A measure that would allow a Warner Robins welcome center to be built away from Interstate 75 drew unanimous support Monday from City Council members, most of whom also said they don’t actually want to build the center somewhere else.
The City Council will now formally ask the Georgia General Assembly to consider stripping language placed in 2009 legislation, which required the welcome center “to be located in the vicinity of the I-75/Russell Parkway intersection.”
“The language that was added in there in ‘09, it ties our hands to putting it out there,” said Councilman Tim Thomas. That means landowners will know the center has to be placed nearby and can raise the price accordingly, he said.
The city has about $1.3 million in hotel-motel tax revenue that can be used to build the center. Mayor Randy Toms told The Telegraph he and most of City Council want the welcome center close to the interstate.
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A proposal to remove the location restriction was floated two weeks ago, surprising City Council members, who balked at taking action then. In that meeting, Marsha Priest Buzzell, executive director of the Warner Robins Convention & Visitors Bureau, worried that the legal change could lead to the center being built far away from the highway’s traffic.
Mayor Randy Toms said he spoke to her the next day to clear up issues.
“I talked to Marsha, and Marsha was OK with us moving forward with this,” Toms told the council. Efforts to reach Buzzell for comment Monday night were not successful.
Also Monday, City Council members voted to cut off fired employees’ pay when they’re fired by an administrator, but before the City Council approves the action.
Human Resources Director Bryan Fobbus said some ousted employees received extra months of pay.
The council also voted to become the fiscal agent for Kids’ Journey, a countywide Family Connection program that had been served by the county school board. Councilman Clifford Holmes voted against the action after saying he supported the program but said the move would make city employees take on additional responsibilities.
Other council members asked questions, including why countywide organizations weren’t serving the program.
The council ultimately agreed to have the city take it over.
To contact writer Mike Stucka, call 744-4251.