Houston & Peach

POLITICAL NOTEBOOK: ‘At least we’re not Albany’

The Forbes magazine article that ranked Macon as the seventh-poorest metro area in the country didn’t go unnoticed among Macon City Council members.

Someone mentioned the dubious distinction before the pre-council session prior to Tuesday’s council meeting, and it somehow sparked a spirited debate between Councilmembers Ed DeFore, James Timley and Alveno Ross about the Macon Water Authority. Timley and Ross contended the city would be in a lot better shape financially if it ran the authority,

“Our city fathers gave away the goose,” Ross said.

Later, when pre-council discussion turned to citizen’s groups calling for more regulation of Macon massage parlors, Councilwoman Nancy White asked if anything could be done about billboards promoting the spas, calling the signs a “black eye” on the city.

“The real black eye on Macon is we’re the seventh-poorest city in the country,” remarked Timley.

Councilman Rick Hutto managed to find some humor in Macon’s rating, even if it was at the expense of another Georgia city ranked even lower, at No. 4. “I’ve got a new slogan for us: ‘At least we’re not Albany.’ ”

GIVE ME YOUR BEST SHOT

Macon City Councilwoman Elaine Lucas didn’t just talk the talk about the importance of getting flu vaccines. She stepped up during Tuesday night’s council meeting and got the shot for the seasonal flu.

Lucas invited North Central Health District Director Dr. David Harvey to speak, and he brought along nurse Linda Holland, whom he called “the best shot-giver” in the area.

“I’m gonna be a guinea pig,” Lucas said before being vaccinated. She asked for volunteers and was joined by Councilman Tom Ellington, City Attorney Pope Langstaff and another staffer.

“We are seeing widespread flu in Georgia,” Harvey told. “We’ve had three deaths in our district. We don’t want any more.”

Harvey said that for the first time in “many years,” the flu is attacking younger people.

Vaccine for the H1N1 virus, commonly called “swine flu,” is being shipped, and injectable vaccine should arrive in a week or two.

For more information, Davis said, residents can call 745-0411 or 751-6247.

IT’S TOUGH FINDING ANYBODY FOR A WATER BOARD

Sometimes it’s like pulling teeth to fill a regional board seat, as Perry City Manager Lee Gilmore found out at Tuesday’s City Council meeting. On the agenda was finding someone to fill a seat on a regional water council. As part of the new Statewide Water Management Plan, 10 regional water councils were planned so groups could develop regional water plans.

Council members were hushed, looking to each other to see if someone else would step up.

“Let’s send the mayor. Is the mayor-elect here?” Councilman Joe Kusar said jokingly of Jimmy Faircloth and Kusar’s plan to get the incoming mayor’s feet wet early in regional politics.

Mayor James Worrall again asked if there was someone on the council willing to serve on the board. Mayor Pro-Tem Riley Hunt asked Gilmore if he could serve. Gilmore said he was eligible to fill the post.

Immediately, Hunt made a motion nominating Gilmore to the post, followed by a swift second by Phyllis Bynum-Grace.

The action passed unanimously.

“Mayor, council, I want to thank you for this opportunity,” Gilmore said in a sarcastic tone, joking with the group and wrapping up the bit of business.

LET THERE BE LIGHT

A mere 10 years ago, Bibb County asked for some lighting for Interstate 75 around Arkwright Road and the southern interchange with Interstate 475. The lights may soon be on the way. County commissioners agreed to pay the power bills if the Georgia Department of Transportation pays for the lights and their installation. The lights around Arkwright Road will be coordinated with more work there.

Macon may separately ask for more lighting inside the city limits, near Pierce Avenue.

WHAT’S IN A NAME?

Frank C. Amerson Jr. predates satellite navigation systems, but the technology is forcing the renaming of a monument to him.

Amerson told Bibb County commissioners he wanted to change the name of the Frank C. Amerson Jr. Parkway — home to the Sara Lee plant off Hartley Bridge Road — to just be the “Frank Amerson Parkway.” County commissioners agreed when he noted there’s just too many parts to his full name to fit in a GPS unit.

DENIED

Bibb County commissioners shot down two area residents’ efforts to get money back from the county.

Craig Donahue wanted county commissioners to pay him for the $295 tire rim he’d broken on a Heath Road pothole last month coming back from a football game. He argued the county must have known about the pothole. The county attorney, Virgil Adams, said the pothole was repaired the following Monday — the first day the county learned of the problem. Adams said the county is legally responsible only if it doesn’t fix a pothole soon after hearing about it.

But the largest denial came to Daba Fall, a Macon resident wanting a refund of $1,799.15 in taxes that he’d paid on someone else’s house. Fall said he’d been told the house had a lien on it, and if he paid the outstanding taxes the city would give him the house. The house remains the property of the other family. Tax Commissioner Tommy Tedders said he couldn’t refund the money because the county had done no wrong in processing the payment. County Commissioner Lonzy Edwards, an attorney, spared few words.

“I think for us to do what this man is asking would basically be asking us to be participants in fraud,” he said.

Telegraph staff writers Rodney Manley, Marlon A. Walker and Mike Stucka contributed to this report.

  Comments