Our network

Macon City Council Talks SPLOST, Listening Sessions | News

Title (Max 100 Characters)

Macon City Council Talks SPLOST, Listening Sessions

The results from a series of "listening sessions" are in, and city officials are considering  how to use the information to set priorities for the proposed SPLOST.

During the June listening sessions, the public offered input on the proposed SPLOST and rated suggestions for the project list.

The ideas were put into five categories, and Macon City Council reviewed the numbers Tuesday evening.

Under the "Economic Development" category, finishing the Tubman received the most votes with a total of 43.

Community development projects to increase employment opportunities came in second with 17 votes.

Under the "Recreation" category, completing the Filmore Thomas Project and Bellevue Recreation Facility came in first with 14 votes.

Creating "passive recreation" opportunities--including walking and bike trails--came in second with 10 votes.

In the "Infrastructure and Technology" category, building a new animal control facility ranked number one with 28 votes.

Addressing storm water drain problems came in second with 25 votes.

In the "Public Safety" category, a safer or new courthouse got 23 votes.

Updating the E-911 radio system to allow the sheriff's office and police department to communicate was ranked second with 19 votes.

A fifth category was created for miscellaneous projects, and nine people used that opportunity to vote not to have a SPLOST.

Council debated about how to use the data when setting their SPLOST priority list, pointing out that the data isn't scientific.

Several council members said they hesitate to rely on the results because the process allowed each person who attended the meetings to vote three times.

That means a person could have used all three of their votes to support one project.  Some council members say that would skew the results.

Some members say the things people voted for may not accurately reflect the city's needs.

"In some cases they fall within the priorities, in some cases they don't," says Councilwoman Elaine Lucas.  For example, she says a new animal control facility should not be a priority for this SPLOST, despite the 28 votes.

Reichert says some important projects are less "glamorous" and didn't get as much public support, like fixing the sewer system and getting a new E-911 radio system.

But, Reichert says, those projects are vital and the SPLOST is the only way to fund them.

All of the council members agreed renovating recreation facilities should be one of the SPLOST's top projects.

During the meeting, council members agreed to create a sub-committee to come up with the official priority list.

Council president James Timely asked for one representative from each ward to approach him by Wednesday to form the committee.

The mayor says they're on a tight timeline to get negotiations with the county done.

He says their original August 2 deadline is no longer reasonable, but county officials have asked for a list to be approved by council and presented by August 16.

Reichert says the city and county will then have to negotiate an "intergovernmental agreement," about which projects to put on the SPLOST and whether if would run for 5 or 6 years if approved.

A vote on the SPLOST is scheduled for November.



Macon Deals

Macon Businesses