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Bibb Tax Commissioner Discusses Tax Code Changes

On Eyewitness News Mornin', Stephanie Susskind and Randall Savage Wednesday talked about a legislative proposal that, if passed, would change how drivers pay tag taxes and fees.

Bibb County Tax Commissioner Tommy Tedders explained that one provision of the bill would eliminate yearly auto property tax, and instead require a one-time car registration tax.

The fee would be paid each time a car was sold, whether it was once in ten years or three times in one year.

Tedders said, for most drivers, the amount paid in wouldn't change.  A car owner would have to keep a vehicle for a substantial number of years to feel the benefit. 

The legislation passed Georgia's House of Representatives Tuesday with a 155 to 9 vote.

It covers more than just motor vehicle tax.

It also would allow bigger tax exemptions for married couples, create tax breaks for manufacturers and farmers, and impose sales tax on internet purchases.

Immigrants to Central Georgia Become Citizens

At the United States Courthouse in Macon, 40 immigrants were sworn in as American citizens on Tuesday at a naturalization ceremony.

These new citizens came from India, Canada, Spain and other parts of the world.

During the ceremony, new Americans had to take of oath to the United States and say the pledge of allegiance for the first time as American citizens.

"I said it but I was not loud," said Carmen Hicks, who is originally from Spain. "Because I was so emotional, I had to kinda say it from my heart. The words were coming out, but I couldn't make a sound out."

"I was proud," said Sonia Balocco, who was born in Honduras. "I was very proud and it was emotional I think I cried a little bit."

A few of the citizens we talked to said they have been in this country for years so they already think of America as home.

"I've been in this country for 27 years, actually longer than I have been in my own country," said Hicks.

Bibb Schools on State's Focus List

Bibb Schools on State's Focus List

The Georgia Department of Education has released a list of 156 schools labeled "focus schools" under the new accountability system.

In Bibb County, Howard Middle School, Miller Magnet School, and Weaver Middle School made the list.

According to the Georgia Department of Education, focus schools are those with a graduation rate of less than sixty percent over the last two years or with large gaps between highest and lowest achieving subgroups of students.

District Math 24 Competition Winners Recognized

Elementary and middle school students who placed in February’s District Math 24 Competition were recognized at the Thursday's Board of Education meeting.

“Math 24 is an intellectually challenging game that encourages students to master their basic math facts as well as develop their higher-order algebraic skills,” said Miller Magnet Middle School Math Coach and Math Team/Math 24 County Coordinator Olena Floore.

To learn more, click here.

Senate Approves Macon-Bibb Consolidation

With minor variations, the Georgia Senate approved Tuesday the proposal to consolidate the City of Macon and Bibb County governments.

Sen. Cecil Staton, a Macon Republican, said with Senate approval, the measure returns to the House of Representatives where the Bibb representatives are expected to approve the measure.

Staton said he and Sen. Miriam Paris cleaned up some of the language in the House bill. He said among those changes were removing the sentence that said the mayor could appoint a police chief.

The top law enforcement officer will be the elected sheriff, Staton said.

He also said some minor changes were made to the district lines.

If the House approves the Senate changes, the measure will go to Gov. Nathan Deal for his signature.

Once done, voters in Macon and Bibb County will decide in the July 31 election whether they want a consolidated government.

Committee Asks to See Contracts

Things got a bit heated in a Macon committee meeting Tuesday afternoon. Work Force Development brought updates before the Community Resources and Development Committee.

It started when the group refused to let the city in on two separate contracts.

"If there's no problem with us reviewing these bids, then why don't you just submit them to end this controversy? Has your board directed you not to do so?" Councilwoman Lauren Benedict asks.

Work Force Director, Kathy Thompson replied that she didn't have to.

"My question," Benedict says, "is has your board directed you not to do so?"

"Absolutely not," says Thompson.

Thompson says the group doesn't have to submit contracts to the city, but some council members say otherwise.

SPLOST Projects Move Forward

Groups could be just steps away from getting to work on some Macon SPLOST projects.

In a full council meeting Tuesday, members passed an ordinance accepting more than $19 million in bond proceeds to help get to work.

The first projects on the list include the Tubman Museum, storm drainage improvements, Centreplex improvements, Fort Hawkins, and public safety equipment.

Council member Tom Ellington says they'll spend about $2.5 million on Tubman Museum repairs but he's not sure which parts they'll focus on first.

"What they've communicated with us so far is that this was the funding gap that stood between them and being able to complete the construction and open the new building on Cherry Street," Ellington says. "So I think it's going to be a matter of managing the construction time lines and getting going there."

Ellington says there's no set start date on the projects, but he says they'll break ground before June 30.