Bibb officials encouraged to work with other local governments when seeking state funding

Local legislators said Wednesday that Bibb County will have to work with area counties to seek badly needed state money. But such cooperation may be easier said than done.

“Crawford County, their needs are different from Houston and Bibb,” said Bibb County Commissioner Elmo Richardson.

Beyond the regional differences, Bibb commissioners have struggled to even cooperate with local legislators. Their top priority for the next legislative session? Getting a hotel-motel tax increase to try to save the music and sports Halls of Fame. The top priority last year? The same goal.

Just last week, Bibb County commissioners openly discussed using county funds to hire a lobbyist to keep tabs on the county’s legislators. The talk happened because last year’s proposed fee increase for the Halls of Fame disintegrated as more projects — including a stadium — were added to proposals. A happy consensus was formed by agreeing to split money between the Music Hall of Fame, Sports Hall of Fame and the Douglass Theatre.

But at a breakfast meeting Wednesday, the legislators and county commissioners were cordial and respectful. State Rep. Allen Peake said good communication among legislators and county commissioners would be key to cooperation.

“They have my cell number and I have theirs,” Peake said.

To contact writer Mike stucka, call 744-4251.