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Macon-Bibb officials vote to split blight money evenly | News

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Macon-Bibb officials vote to split blight money evenly
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Macon-Bibb County commissioners have agreed to split $9 million of blight money equally between each of the nine county districts.

That was an alternative to the proposal Mayor Robert Reichert made to channel that money into several proposed areas, including what he called the Coliseum Heights (along Emery Highway) and Second Street.

Commissioners also agreed to spend an extra $4 million in the Beall's Hill neighborhood and along Wise Avenue.

It's part of a solution to battle blight in the county.

But commissioners have agreed that some districts, such as in north Macon, don't need as much funding to fight blight as in other areas, such as east Macon.

That's why they've decided commissioners can reallocate the money set aside for their districts to another.

Or they can put that money into a central pool of money for specific projects voted on by the commission.

But finance chairman, Gary Bechtel, says that's a bad idea.
"Each of us has a pool of money that we basically dish out to the highest bidder. I think that's a recipe for disaster," Bechtel said.

Bechtel says he thought the Mayor's plan was a better idea, because it focused on specific areas.

He says splitting the money evenly lacks a tangible plan, which he believes will result in a less effective attack on blighted areas.

Mayor Robert Reichert says he believes the blight committee's plan is a "good compromise."

"With the amendment, it gives commissioners the right to reallocate some or all of their money to a nearby district or back into the pool for projects that the commission decides, so I think it's a good compromise," he said.


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