Macon-Bibb County commissioners approved an amended ordinance Tuesday that will provide more leeway on how $9 million can be divided for blight projects.
Commissioners passed the ordinance that will divide the $9 million in bond funds evenly among the nine districts, although the amendment recommended by the Macon-Bibb County Blight Committee also allows officials to reallocate funds to another district or into a general blight remediation fund.
The lone vote against the amended ordinance came from Commissioners Gary Bechtel, who has said commissioners should spend more time before making a decision.
Commissioner Mallory Jones sponsored another amendment that failed to garner enough support when it came to a vote.
Jones proposed giving $200,000 to each district and using the remaining $7.2 million on blight projects approved by commissioners. The proposal also would have allowed commissioners to give money allocated to their districts to another district or put it into the general blight remediation fund.
“I don’t think it’ll be a coordinated effort ($1 million to each district) and would be much less effective as if we picked some commission-approved projects,” Jones said.
The ad hoc blight committee’s recommendation prior to the amendment was for the $1 million to be spent in each district and did not allow officials to spend money outside their distrct.
Mayor Robert Reichert said Tuesday that he was in favor of the amended resolution since it provided more options.
Reichert had 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 among districts say it would allow those who know their neighborhoods best to come up with plans for improvement.
Reichert and a blight task force had said it would be better to spend money where agencies are willing to partner and that are more ripe for reinvestment.
In other business Tuesday, commissioners:
Voted to spend $29,000 for the second phase of studying the viability of turning the Willie C. Hill Government Center Annex into a mixed-used development. In March, commissioners approved an agreement with the firm Jones Lang LaSalle to help solicit public-private real estate services for the building. The first phase cost $35,000.
Approved changing College Station Drive, which runs through Middle Georgia State University’s campus, to University Parkway.
Voted to spend $500,000 for renovations and improvements at the Bibb County Courthouse. The funding will come from a 2011 SPLOST. Some court records were ruined this month when a pipe burst at the courthouse.
Approved a contract to give $847,650 to the Georgia Behavioral Health Systems for building a group home off Fulton Mill Road. The housing is being paid for with a grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
Approved revising a $1.5 million loan agreement for the developer behind the Dannenberg Lofts property in downtown Macon.
The agreement will allow 476 Third Street LLC to pay $290,404 over a three-year period beginning in January. The remaining $1.3 million would be a one-time payment after the three years.
An August 2014 deadline to repay the loan was not met because of the developer’s delays meeting the compliance requirements of a Community Development Block Grant. An agreement was made to forebear the interest and principal from August 2014 until June 30, 2015.
476 Third Street LLC owner Gene Dunwody Sr. said a problem with financing arose because of two appraisals with drastically different values.
To contact writer Stanley Dunlap, call 744-4623