Macon council shows interest in another SPLOST

The Macon City Council on Tuesday approved a resolution that supports negotiating with Bibb County about funding for projects under a future special purpose local option sales tax.

At this point, the resolution is largely lightweight, given that only the county can call for a SPLOST. But it does point to some of the city’s interests as commissioners began to consider calling for another penny tax. They have suggested another tax would be needed to pay for courthouse replacement costs.

Still, it may be a while before that happens, as commissioners have somewhat publicly retreated from their initial plans to build a new facility near the Bibb County Law Enforcement Center. That proposal raised the ire of many downtown boosters who say business will be hurt if courthouse operations are moved several blocks away.

The commission is now pursuing architectural studies of various options, from staying in the same location to moving, that it will consider before making any final decision.

The council, noting the political hot potato the courthouse presents, in its resolution expressly says it is not endorsing any location over another. Council members are primarily interested in making it known they want funding for two big-ticket items — stormwater management and recreation improvements.

“Our recreation is deteriorating badly in Macon,” said Councilman Ed DeFore, who sponsored the resolution along with nine of his colleagues. The main problem, he said, is that recreation programs do not get the level of funding they require. And if the city does not gain a handle on enforcing federal stormwater management requirements, the inaction could lead to fines, he said.

To contact writer Matt Barnwell, call 744-4251.