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Bibb Co. to act on $64M in tax breaks for Kumho

Bibb County commissioners on Tuesday approved an agreement that would save the Kumho Co. nearly $64 million in property taxes over 20 years.

The Korean tire manufacturer is planning to start construction soon on a $500 million factory in south Bibb County. They say they plan to hire around 450 people there.

To attract the company, county officials in 2008 agreed to reduce taxes on the plant.

Kumho delayed construction on the plant for more than six years due to the global economy and their own financial problems.

Now, with site work underway in the Sofkee Industrial Park, the commission plans to take a final vote on the agreement.

Under the deal, Kumho will rent the factory site from the Macon-Bibb County Industrial Authority instead of buying it.

But the company agrees to make 20 years of payments in lieu of taxes.

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High-tech way police watch you on the road

It's a camera, about the size of a book, and it's capturing your license plate before you can blink an eye.

We first reported a year ago about the license plate cameras used by Macon Police, now merged with the Sheriff's Department.

Now, 13WMAZ's Paula Rotondo follows up to measure the results of these cameras for law enforcement.

It happens within seconds, the License Plate Reader beeps alerting the officer that something is not right.

Deputy Matthew Parker has had his reader system since January, "Pretty consistently on a 12 hour shift my car alerts me to at least 30 vehicles a shift, whether it's just a simple expired tag, all the way up to stolen vehicles."

The readers track around 2,000 cars each day.

Macon-Bibb Commission wants charter changed

The Macon-Bibb Commission asked legislators Tuesday to make changes to its charter.

Part of that is reducing the size of cuts they must make in their new consolidated budget. Right now the charter says the budget must be cut 20 percent over 4 years.

But some commissioners want to change that to 10 percent. That means they'd have to cut 15 to 16 million dollars instead of 30 million.

Commissioner Mallory Jones supports the change. He says to grow, the county must maintain its current services like public safety. He likes the different suggestions offered on how to give the commission budget flexibility.

Meeting today about upgrades along Eisenhower Parkway


Today at 2 p.m., there's a meeting scheduled between Macon Mall owners and property owners along Eisenhower Parkway to talk about a proposed Business Improvement District.

Mark Stevens, the Regional Development Officer for Hull Storey Gibson, the company that owns the Macon Mall, says the plan to boost the area would aim to make the Eisenhower area a "gateway to Macon." It would include redeveloping the Interstate 475 interchange, cutting grass and clearing brush, security patrol from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m., and focus on clearing empty and blighted properties.

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Goodwill Helms Career Center opens downtown

Monday was the first day the Helms Career Center on Broadway Street opened since it moved from its original location on Eisenhower Parkway.

There were a handful of people inside looking for jobs, one of them was Reene Gibson.

Gibson has been a bus driver for Bibb County Schools for more than two decades, and is trying to find an administrative assistant job.

"You can go to the library, but you're limited about your time," Gibson explained.

She says that isn't a problem at the center.

Employment Services Director, Jennifer Welch, says the move downtown should bring the center closer to people looking for work.

13WMAZ to host health Navigators phone bank

On Tuesday, Insure Georgia Navigators will host a live phone bank on 13WMAZ.

Viewers may call the navigators between 5:00 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, to ask questions regarding health care and health insurance plans available under the federal government's Affordable Care Act.

We will announce that phone line closer to 5 p.m. on Tuesday, when the phone bank opens.

Navigators can not pick a plan for you but can help you weigh your options, as well as answer any questions you may have regarding enrollment through the federal health insurance marketplace, healthcare.gov.

Fred Ammons, executive director of Community Health Works, the organization heading the Insure Georgia initiative, says the organization is able to train and staff Navigators, thanks to a $1.1 million federal grant.

Community Health Works has trained a total of 26 navigators across the state.

Douglass House demolition now underway

After a months-long battle to demolish or to save Macon's historic Douglass house, all that's left now is rubble, after demolition began Friday afternoon.

The rest of the home was razed Saturday after a structural evaluation deemed the building unsafe.


Macon preservationists fought to save the century-old building, once the home of African-American entrepreneur Charles Douglass, who founded the Douglass Theatre.