Macon Mayor Robert Reichert made his pitch for annexing part of Jones County to about 300 of its residents Thursday night, and quickly learned it wasn't to their liking.
None indicated they were in favor of his plan, and 32 spoke against being annexed during a noisy public hearing at the W.E. Knox Civic Center.
Reichert had asked to present his plans for the annexation to the Jones County Commission, which scheduled a public hearing so that county residents could also hear it.
The mayor first listed what he said would be the benefits for those being annexed, then listened as the parade of those opposed repeatedly said they did not need those perks or want to be Macon residents.
Sign Up and Save
Get six months of free digital access to The Telegraph
Afterward, Reichert said he was not surprised at the opposition, but he didn't expect it to be so strong.
"We had advance notice that there was a lot of anti-annexation sentiment here, so I'm not completely taken aback. But maybe the extent and fervor was more than I expected," he said.
Asked if he would now consider taking Jones County out of his annexation plans, Reichert said Ttoay's response would be something he and the Macon City Council would consider before deciding whether to seek a referendum. They are scheduled to discuss the matter in a work session Tuesday.
"All along, this has been a proposal in progress, a means for conversation and input. As we go along we may need to refine our proposal, enlarge some areas and contract others.
"We're talking about annexing maybe 500 people from Jones County. There were 150 or 200 people here, all voting age, from the affected area and they made it clear they are opposed. It may make sense to not include Jones County in the plan, or at the least have a separate vote for those in Jones County so as not to pull down the vote totals in other areas."