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Consolidation Task Force Makes First Steps | News

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Consolidation Task Force Makes First Steps
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The 15-member transition task force team gathered at Macon city hall Wednesday to lay out the ground rules for their future meetings. That includes calling for a simple majority to pass a vote.

The Middle Georgia Regional Commission offered to help the team by hosting meetings, keeping minutes, and consulting with subcommittees and outside firms. They agreed to provide these services at no additional cost to Macon or Bibb County since both governments already pay annual dues.

The team agreed to hold their meetings to the regional commission's office on Emory Highway, a neutral ground, every third Wednesday of the month at 3:30 p.m.

Those meetings are open to the public. Laura Mathis with the Regional Commission says their space can hold up to 40 additional people.

The task force subcommittees will also meet there, but they will decide their individual schedules after assignments are made at the next full meeting.

The subcommittees cover topics like finance, facilities, technology, human resources, and laws. There will also be a committee on committees.

Bibb County Chairman Sam Hart says he believes some of those groups may have to meet once a week or even more to accomplish their goals within the 16 month transition period. He says building a budget should be the first order of business.

Macon Mayor Robert Reichert says employee health benefits are one of the top priorities on his list. He says the city and the county currently use different insurance agencies and moving to a unified plan could take time. Reichert stressed that this, along with some other mergers, can take place before the official January 2014 starting date for the new government. He says implementing as much as possible before that day will allow for a smoother transition.

State Representative Nikki Randall, chairwoman of the task force, says she's pleased with the group's enthusiasm during Wednesday's meeting. She says they will consult with the Carl Vinson Institute of Government out of the University of Georgia to decide which tasks the team should take on first.

The group scheduled their next meeting for Sept. 19.

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