Some Macon-Bibb County residents could see a quarterly street light fee disappear later this year.
A resolution to put an end to the street light fee that's paid by some residents in the former unincorporated Bibb County is scheduled to be heard Tuesday by the County Commission's Operations and Finance Committee. The measure seeks to have the fee paid for through the county's budget, which is how lighting costs are covered by those who live in the former city limits, said Macon-Bibb spokesman Chris Floore.
If approved in the committee meeting, the resolution would go before the full commission March 1. The resolution calls for the fee to be abolished July 1, the start of the next fiscal year.
"As we've moved throughout this consolidation process, we've tried to do our best to bring everything in line with what one or the other (former government) is doing," said Commissioner Gary Bechtel, a co-sponsor of the resolution.
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Bechtel said having the county fund the lights is more realistic than asking residents within the former city of Macon to begin paying the fee.
For this fiscal year, the commission budgeted the fee would bring in about $333,000 in revenue, with about $280,000 of that being paid to utility companies. There are 5,783 Macon households currently making the quarterly payment.
The costs for the county's street lights could lower as Georgia Power, which operates lights along state routes and some major streets, continues to replace standard bulbs with more efficient LED bulbs. So far, the company has replaced 4,124 out of a planned 6,260 bulbs, Georgia Power spokeswoman Ashley Stukes said.
Also, Philips Lighting, a light manufacturer, is in the middle of a study to examine where more lights are needed throughout Macon neighborhoods.
"Hopefully we can take advantage of some of the upgrades that Georgia Power and county are doing that will reduce the fees in maintenance and lighting," Bechtel said.
OFFICIALS TO ADDRESS AUDITORIUM REPAIRS
A Macon-Bibb committee is set to discuss Tuesday whether the county will use $150,000 for immediate renovations to the Macon City Auditorium.
The resolution comes a couple weeks after commissioners were informed of an estimated $15 million worth of repairs needed at the landmark downtown facility. County officials are expected to look into various methods to pay for the repairs, including the possibility of the auditorium being a part of the next round of special sales tax projects.
The facility, built in 1923, has rampant issues ranging from a leaky roof, mold, peeling wallpaper and not being fully handicap accessible.
BASEBALL FEASIBILITY STUDY TO BE RELEASED
While the details of a baseball feasibility study are expected to be released Tuesday, one commissioner said he would like to see if there is interest from a team before moving too quickly.
The 10-week study by B&D Venues is scheduled to be presented to the County Commission during a work session Tuesday afternoon. The firm's data shows that Macon can support a minor league team and that it will be up to Macon-Bibb leaders on how to proceed, according to a B&D official.
The study examined areas ranging from attendance and revenue projections to prospective sites.
Bechtel said Monday that he'd like to see the county "zero in" on an ownership group interested in bringing a team to Macon before moving forward.
"Just because a study says we're capable of supporting a team doesn't mean we have someone willing to make that commitment tomorrow," he said.
To contact writer Stanley Dunlap, call 744-4623 or find him on Twitter@stan_telegraph.