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Bibb Commission sets priorities at strategic retreat | News

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Bibb Commission sets priorities at strategic retreat
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ATHENS - In day two of the Macon-Bibb commission's work session in Athens, the group created a list of priorities for the new government. They include economic and community development, public safety, infrastructure, and boosting quality of life.

They also discussed their to-do list for the next six months. County Manager Dale Walker read them a long list of things such as creating a budget, naming department heads, continuing projects, and creating about 150 jobs in the county.

The group also discussed their relationships with constitutional officers and how to avoid conflicts. That includes the sheriff, tax commissioner, and superior court clerk.

Ken Jarrard, Forsyth County Attorney, spoke with the group about this topic. He says budget and spending often are main causes of tension between the two groups. That's because once the commission approves the budget, the constitutional officer has the ability to spend that money with little oversight. He says, though the county owns all of the property used, the constitutional officers are charged with responsibility for and protection of those assets, and that can also cause conflict.

Jarrard says the commission understanding the roles of those officers will help them build relationships and handle any tension that comes up.

Earlier Saturday, Mayor Robert Reichert began the session by discussing the possibility of a high-speed rail and Macon-Bibb's opportunities to be a leader in the state. He says the recent traffic jam in Atlanta caused by the winter storm has started conversations about other modes of transportation connecting major areas in Georgia. Reichert says Columbus teamed up with the Department of Transportation to conduct a study about the future of a high-speed rail running to Atlanta.

Reichert charged the commission to "come out of the weeds and take the lead." He says Macon-Bibb should be a front-runner for the high-speed rail system.

To accomplish that and other goals for the newly merged government, the group discussed a list of promises they believe will help them move the community forward. They included transparency, respect, and openness to new ideas.

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