All meetings of Macon City Council committees may soon be televised, or at least streamed live on the city’s website, instead of just the Tuesday-night meetings at which already-discussed items are ratified.
The council approved the change 14-0.
Councilman Larry Schlesinger, a co-sponsor of the resolution with Councilwoman Lauren Benedict and primary author Councilman Frank Tompkins, was out of town.
In an afternoon City Council Ordinances & Resolutions Committee meeting, Tompkins offered an amendment to his own resolution, adding that all the council’s committee meetings should be held in the main council chamber instead of the smaller committee room, which is often crowded.
Councilman Ed DeFore said it’s unlikely that Cox Communications would agree to run all committee meetings, which can last several hours each and take place Monday through Thursday.
Councilman Tom Ellington agreed but said the meetings could at least be streamed online. He objected, however, to the idea of holding all meetings in the main chamber, which other groups also use.
At the suggestion of Councilman Henry Ficklin, the amendment was itself amended to say committees should use the main chamber “whenever possible.”
Buying and setting up the necessary equipment remains to be done, but Tompkins said there’s $70,000 in the current budget for such purposes.
The council voted 13-0 to dispose of 14 houses the city owns.
They were built with federal HOME funds but sitting empty and unsold.
Those and 11 similar houses were “under discussion for a long time,” Internal Affairs Director Keith Moffett said.
The other 11 were turned over to River Edge Behavioral Health Center, while this resolution calls for Mayor Robert Reichert to work out a handover to the Macon-Bibb Economic Opportunity Council and the Macon Housing Authority for the remaining 14.
The houses had been built to be sold to low-income, first-time homebuyers, but since the real estate market virtually collapsed, they’ve been empty and frequently vandalized, costing the city tens of thousands of dollars in repair costs.
Moffett said the housing authority will manage the houses and use them as single-family rental units.
“As anyone knows, the best security for any house is to have someone in it,” said Councilman Lonnie Miley, who’s also board chairman of the Economic Opportunity Council.
They could all be occupied within six months, Economic & Community Development Director Wanzina Jackson said.
Councilwoman Elaine Lucas, noting that the rental deal extends for 20 years, said the option to sell the houses after that should be kept open.
The resolution passed the council 13-0, with Miley recusing himself because of his connection to the Economic Opportunity Council.
By a 14-0 vote, the council ratified a contract to get new scoreboards for the Macon Coliseum in exchange for a Coke monopoly.
The deal gives Coca-Cola Refreshments USA exclusive advertising and sales rights in the Coliseum in exchange for a new four-sided digital scoreboard, a smaller scoreboard at each end of the court, and two shot clocks, all centrally controlled; they may be in place by the end of February.
As part of the deal, the bottler will contribute $5,000 a year for “mutually beneficial promotions and sponsorships” at the Coliseum, up to $1,000 of Coke products each year for sale or as promotions; and an annual rebate of $2 per case on bottles and cans sold in the arena.
To contact writer Jim Gaines, call 744-4489.