An ordinance requesting $450,000 in blight funding to be set aside for demolishing structures will go before a Macon-Bibb County committee next week.
On Tuesday, the blight ordinance was moved to the commission’s Operation and Finance Committee’s Aug. 25 meeting. The ordinance would have each of the nine commissioners place $50,000 of blight money into a fund for tearing down housing and commercial properties.
The commission’s blight committee agreed last week to support the ordinance after a lengthy discussion about hiring a consultant and a request by a commissioner to begin tearing down houses in his district.
There were questions from some commissioners Tuesday as to why the ordinance needed to be referred to another committee instead of going for a vote during Tuesday’s County Commission meeting.
The ad hoc blight committee was created as a board that can’t directly send items to the full commission, Macon-Bibb County Attorney Judd Drake said during Tuesday’s pre-commission meeting.
The ordinance follows the same process used by the county to tear down 100-plus homes last fiscal year.
Macon resident Sarah Hunt commended commissioners for their efforts on attacking blight. Explaining the lengthy legal process it takes to demolish homes would help people better understand why it’s taken longer than expected, she said.
“I think once you get your master plan and share that with the community then we’ll be moving forward,” Hunt said at Tuesday’s meeting.
Macon-Bibb has $14 million in blight bond funds, of which $4 million is for projects in Beall’s Hill and Wise Avenue. Another $1 million will be used for community engagement and solid waste disposal. The remaining $9 million was divided between the commissioners.
COMMISSION APPROVES COUNTYWIDE MILLAGE RATE
The commission approved an ordinance Tuesday that calls for the end of the Macon City Tax District.
The ordinance has residents in the former Macon city limits paying the same property tax rate of 14.65 mills as people who live in the former unincorporated Bibb County, thus ending double taxation of former city residents.
For those living in the former city limits, the move saves them $194 in taxes on a $100,000 home with the 4.85-mill reduction, county officials said.
Macon-Bibb government is projected to receive $700,000 less in tax revenue under the new ordinance.
ANIMAL WELFARE TO OUTSOURCE SOME SERVICES
Macon-Bibb County will outsource some of its Animal Welfare Department services to a local animal organization.
The commission approved a contract with Saving Animals From Euthanasia -- also known as S.A.F.E. -- to allow the nonprofit group to provide spay/neuter and adoption services at the county’s animal shelter.
Macon-Bibb would pay S.A.F.E. $9,438 a month for the contract that runs until June 30.
The organization would maintain medical services and equipment and would determine fees for adoptions and spaying/neutering.
S.A.F.E. has been involved with the Animal Welfare Task Force put together by Mayor Robert Reichert.
County officials and the nonprofit group will decide at the end of the fiscal year if outsourcing remains the best route going forward.
RECREATION RENOVATIONS APPROVED
Three Macon-Bibb parks and recreation centers will receive $4.25 million in renovations.
County officials approved the master plans and costs for the early phases of projects at Freedom Park, East Macon Park and Gilead-Bloomfield Complex.
Projects are on track to begin by early next year at five other recreation centers. Plans include building the new Sub-South Recreation Center as well as renovations at Rosa Jackson, Frank Johnson and Memorial Park community centers. There also will be $4.2 million in upgrades at Central City Park.
Freedom Park will use $2.9 million to add a splash pad, move softball fields, connect a walking trail and more.
The Gilead-Bloomfield site will eventually become home to a cultural arts center, an educational facility for science, technology, engineering, mathematics studies, or STEM, and multi-purpose ball fields.
There is $1.1 million in SPLOST money to pay for the STEM facility, parking improvements and repairs.
At the East Macon Recreation Center, there could be $250,000 of work to renovate a concession stand, build a T-ball field and repair sidewalks.
To contact writer Stanley Dunlap, call 744-4623.