Sen. Brown: November consolidation vote unlikely

Macon state Sen. Robert Brown gave little hope for a compromise in the final hours of the legislative session to allow a November vote on the proposed consolidation of Macon and Bibb County.

In an exclusive interview on The Telegraph's Mix in the Morning program, Brown said legislative counsel is still working on his consolidation proposal at the state Capitol and there will not be enough time to draw new voting districts.

"I don’t see how we can be able to get consensus of three men in this stage of the game," Brown told program hosts Kenny Burgamy and Charles E. Richardson.

Brown said that since the early 1990s he has backed a "restructuring" of Macon and Bibb County governments that would call for an 11-member governing body.

He responded to recent criticism he has not been forthcoming on his consolidation stance by saying he made it clear in the fall that he felt the delegation must have a united proposal before moving forward. Brown said he was surprised Rep. Allen Peake submitted his own proposal earlier in the session.

Brown denied holding his opinions "close to the vest" on this issue, saying he's stated his position clearly.

"If I’d made that clear in the past why should I come back and get criticized for arguing?"

Brown said he didn't feel consolidation was a high priority this legislative session.

In response to whether the lack of consolidation will hurt the community financially, Brown said he does not think consolidation will lure more businesses as the primary complaints from potential industry have been a lack of educated workers and high crime. He also does not see a combined government as producing substantial savings.

"You can make government more convenient, but I don't necessarily think you'll get a tax savings," Brown said.

The Macon Democrat said he will not be influenced by public opinion polls on the proposal.