Macon, Bibb County vote to consolidate governments

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After years of controversial discussion and debate, the people of Macon and Bibb County voted to approve consolidation of the two governments on Aug. 1.
In order for consolidation to be approved, it had to be passed in Macon and in all of Bibb County. According to The Telegraph, city voters favored it 9,624 to 7,028 and 18,493 to 14,131 across Bibb County.
By consolidation passing, the governments of Macon, Bibb County and Payne City will dissolve separately and be replaced with a single government led by one mayor and nine county commissioners.
According to The Telegraph, Macon Mayor Robert Reichert said, “[The vote] marks the time that Macon and Bibb County have embraced the future and set out to be a more unified community.”
Those in favor of the consolidation voted in hope of a more efficient government that would save taxpayers money.
Those who opposed feared that the consolidation proposal was flawed with mandated 20 percent cut in government costs and a budget process that requires approval from six of the nine commissioners.
According to The Telegraph, State Rep. Allen Peake, a long-time supporter of consolidation, said, “This is a game-changer day for our community.” He explained that the next step will include Bibb County’s legislative delegation setting up a transition team in order to aid in the progress. The transition will begin Sept. 1 and the consolidated government will become effective January 2014.
The transition team will consist of 15 members and will be led by state Rep. Nikki Randall, chairwoman of Bibb County’s legislative delegation.
The committee will also include the Bibb County Commission chairman, Macon’s mayor and City Council president, Macon’s police chief and the Bibb County sheriff. The consolidated government will consist of a nine-member county commission and a mayor elected at-large.
The consolidation will attempt to reverse 30 years of demographic and economic decline.
Although the discussion and debate of consolidating has been present for decades, the July 31 vote was the first public vote on the topic in 35 years.

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