Politics & Government

Macon-Bibb officials set to vote on $10 million in blight funding Tuesday

The Macon-Bibb County Commission could decide Tuesday how to divide millions of dollars in blight funding.

An ordinance that would give $1 million to each of the county’s nine districts is on the agenda for Tuesday’s 6 p.m. meeting. The ordinance recommended by seven commissioners during a July 14 committee meeting includes spending a total of $10 million, including the remaining $1 million on community engagement and waste disposal.

The battle over the blight funding has pitted an ad hoc blight committee’s recommendation against Mayor Robert Reichert’s proposal of spending the money on four projects surrounding downtown Macon.

Reichert identified Coliseum Heights, Pleasant Hill North, Montpelier Heights and South Second Street as the locations that should receive the funding.

Proponents of splitting the money evenly among districts say it would allow those who know their neighborhoods best -- residents and the commissioner who serves them -- to come up with plans for improvement.

Reichert and a blight task force have said it would be better to spend money where agencies are willing to partner and that are more ripe for reinvestment.

Commissioner Bert Bivins, chairman of the blight committee, has said his main concern is that blight gets attacked in each district.

Commissioners Gary Bechtel and Mallory Jones have said they support taking more time on the issue to determine how the money should be doled out.

“What I would suggest is we delay any action on the allocation of the money at this point, and we have more study, more discussion about maybe a hybrid of the two,” Bechtel said during the July 14 meeting of the commission’s Committee of the Whole.

The commission meeting begins at 6 p.m. at the Macon-Bibb County Government Center, 700 Poplar St.

Information from Telegraph archives was used in this report.