HELLO EVERYONE AND THANKS FOR JOINING US.I'M LEAH JOHNSON..
AND I'M FRANK MALLOY..THIS IS EYEWITNESS NEWS AT SIX.
WITH A SUCCESSFUL SPLOST VOTE NOW BEHIND THEM.. SOME MACON AND BIBB COUNTY LEADERS ARE TURNING THEIR THOUGHTS TO CONSOLIDATING THE CITY AND COUNTY .
ONE OF THEM IS STATE REPRESENTATIVE ALLEN PEAKE WHO NOW JOINS RANDALL SAVAGE TO DISCUSS THE LATEST DEVELOPMENTS.
THE IDEA OF BYPASSING VOTERS ON CONSOLIDATION...GOT A MIXED REACTION FROM SOME MACON CITY LEADERS.
ELEANOR LISSITZYN SPOKE WITH SOME OF THEM.
MAYOR ROBERT REICHERT SAYS MERGING MACON AND BIBB COUNTY GOVERNMENTS IS TJE BEST THING FOR EVERYBODY.
AND HE SAYS THERE'S NOTHING THAT THE DELEGATION CAN DO THAT WOULD SWAY HIS SUPPORT.
"I think you're going ot have some people who say, 'no, this is why we elected you, this is why we have trsut faith and confidence in our represetntative form of government, go up there and represent us, do what's in our best interest.' And so when they do that, no it wouldn't offend me."
BUT SOME COUNCIL MEMBERS DISAGREE...
COUNCIL MEMBERS LAUREN BENEDICT... RICK HUTTO... AND LONNIE MILEY ALL SAY THEY WANT CONSOLIDATION... BUT THEY EACH HAVE SOME CONCERN ABOUT CONSOLIDATING MACON AND BIBB COUNTY GOVERNMENTS WITHOUT GIVING THE PUBLIC THE FINAL SAY.
Lauren Benedict: "I do think this is an important issue that impacts our community, and so letting individuals vote or have a say in that makes sense to me."
Rick Hutto: "I have never waivered in my support of consolidation. Under any form, there is almost no deal breaker for me-- except one.
The voters have to vote for it. I don't want a shot-gun wedding."
Lonnie Miley: "We shouldn't be saying 'ok, the voters got sense enough to vote and elect me in, but what it comes to things like that they only have sense for somethings and not sense for the others. We should trurst the voters."
THE DELEGATION WILL HOLD ITS ANNUAL PRE-LEGISLATIVE FORUM NEXT WEEK AT THE MACON-BIBB CHAMBER OF COMMERCE... TO DISCUSS WHAT OTHER LOCAL OFFICIALS WOULD LIKE TO SEE COME UP IN THE NEXT SESSION.
CONSOLIDATION IS EXPECTED TO BE ON THAT LIST.
THAT MEETING WILL BE ON NOVEMBER 17TH.
ONE DAY AFTER BIBB COUNTY PASSED ITS SPLOST... HOUSTON COUNTY ANNOUNCED PLANS TO PUT ONE ON THE MARCH 2012 BALLOT.
HOUSTON COMMISSION CHAIRMAN TOMMY STALNAKER SAYS THE PRIORITIES WILL BE ENCROACHMENT... ATTRACTING INDUSTRY... AND IMPROVING PUBLIC SAFETY.
LORRA LYNCH JONES EXPLAINS HOW THE MONEY WOULD BE USED.
Lorra Lynch Jones, EWN: The penny sales tax, if passed, would be an extension on the current penny sales tax in Houston County. It would not raise the sales tax rate, but keep it at the current 7-percent.
Joined by the mayors of Perry, Centerville and Warner Robins, Commission chairman Tommy Stalnaker said the decision to ask voters for the SPLOST did not come lightly. He said the list is base on needs, not wants. If passed next March, it would raise $155 million starting in October 2012 and ending in September 2018. A break down of the funds has 27-percent going to transportation, 24% to public safety and 19% to economic development... the rest being dispersed to other areas. Included in the economic development portion, Stalnaker says about 7 million would go to buying land at the end of Robins Air Force Base, known as the encroachment issues.
(sot- Tommy Stalnaker (from speech)
Lorra Lynch Jones: The group did not take questions or comments from the public, but there will be two public hearings on the SPLOST next week.
>> THE FIRST HEARING ON THE SPLOST WILL BE TUESDAY NOVEMBER 15TH AT THE HOUSTON COUNTY COMMISSION OFFICE ON CARL VINSON PARKWAY IN WARNER ROBINS.
IT STARTS AT SIX.
THE SECOND ONE WILL BE THURSDAY NOVEMBER 17TH IN COMMISSION CHAMBERS AT THE HOUSTON COUNTY COURTHOUSE IN PERRY.
THAT ALSO STARTS AT SIX.
MACON AND BIBB COUNTY GROUPS WHO WILL BENEFG FROM SPLOST MONEY APPRVOED YESTERDAY ARE QUICKLY GETTING TO WORK.
AS AMY AUBERT SHOWS YOU... ONE JUVENILLE COURT JUDGE SAYS.... THINGS NEED TO CHANGE AND HE'S HOPING A NEW JUVENILE JUSTICE CENTER GETS UNDERWAY SOON.
Nats: "This has just become entirely inadequate."
CHIEF JUDGE FOR JUVENILE COURT... THOMAS MATTHEWS SAYS... IN BIBB COUNTY... THEY NEED MORE ROOM.
HE SAYS FRIDAYS... THESE HALLWAYS FILL UP WITH MORE THAN 100 KIDS AND PARENTS... USUALLY WAITING AN ARRAIGNMENT.
Thomas Matthews, Juvenile Court Chief Judge: "There's no way that we can really keep an eye on what's going on in the hallway, so we have fights break out and other things that go wrong out there."
HE SAYS JUVENILES IN CUSTODY ARE PARADED TO THEIR HEARING... IN FRONT OF THE PUBLIC WAITING AREA... BECAUSE THERE'S NO OTHER ROOM.
Thomas Matthews: "We have very little, narrow conference rooms. And sometimes people are jammed into our conference rooms."
A CONFERENCE ROOM... NO BIGGER THAN A CLOSET.
Nats, unlock door
HE SAYS PASSING THE SPLOST OPENS MAJOR DOORS FOR BIBB'S JUVENILE JUSTICE SYSTEM.
Matthews: "We're all of a sudden going to have a place that meets our needs."
GRASS NOW POKING THROUGH THE CRACKS... COULD SOON BE THE SITE OF THE NEW JUVENILE JUSTICE CENTER.
Amy Aubert, Eyewitness News: "Bibb County Commissioner's Chief Administration Officer, Steve Layson says the project will use 6 million dollars of the SPLOST money and will be built here, on the 1000 block of 2nd Street. That's just across the street on one side from the Crime Lab, on the other, just across from the DFCS Center."
FOR JUDGE MATTHEWS... AND THOSE VISITING THE 5TH FLOOR AT THE COURTHOUSE... SPLOST MONEY BRINGS IN MAJOR CHANGES.
AMY AUBERT 13 WMAZ EYEWITNESS NEWS.
CHIEF ADMINISTRATION OFFICER STEVE LAYSON SAYS SO FAR... NO CONTRACT IS SET ON THE NEW JUSTICE CENTER... BUT IT'S ONE OF THE COMMISSION'S TOP PRIORITIES.
HE SAYS THEY'LL TALK ABOUT HOW TO MOVE FORWARD IN A MEETING ON TUESDAY.
AND MACON'S ANIMAL CONTROL SHELTER IS SET TO GET A NEW PLACE AS WELL WITH 3 MILLION DOLLARS OF THE SPLOST FUNDS.
INTERIM DIRECTOR VAN VANDEWALKER SAYS THESE DOGS... DESERVE A CLEANIER PLACE TO LIVE.
HE SAYS THEY PLAN TO USE SPLOST MONEY TO EITHER BUILD A NEW SHELTER... OR RENOVATE AN OLD BUILDING.
Van VanDeWalker, Interim Director: "We're all so happy the SPLOST passed because if you look in the facilities here that we have, the animals the animals--it's a terrible place for the animals to have to be housed. Dogs and cats. With the roaches, with the mice, with how old the building is, with the peeling paint."
VANDEWALKER SAYS HE HOPES PLANS FOR A NEW BUILDING GET UNDERWAY SOON.
THE SITE OF THE NEW SHELTER HAS NOT BEEN SELECTED.
BIBB COUNTY DEMOCRATIC PARTY CHAIRMAN DARYL MORTON PLANS TO RESIGN HIS POSITION NOVEMBER 15TH.
MORTON SAYS HE REMAINS COMMITTED TO ACHIEVING PARTY GOALS AND URGED FELLOW DEMOCRATS TO DO THAT AS WELL.
HIS RESIGNATION COMES A FEW WEEKS AFTER SOME DEMOCRATS TOOK STEPS TO REMOVE HIM FROM OFFICE.
AMONG OTHER THINGS.. THEY ACCUSED MORTON OF TAKING SIDES IN THIS SUMMER'S PRIMARIES...AND WORKING WITH REPUBLICANS TO DEFEAT SOME DEMOCRATS LIKE C JACK ELLIS AND DAVID LUCAS.
MORTON DENIED THOSE CHARGES..
CHIP CHERRY... PRESIDENT OF THE MACON-BIBB CHAMBER OF COMMERCE... IS STEPPING DOWN.
THE CHAMBER ANNOUNCED TODAY CHERRY WILL BE THE NEW PRESIDENT OF THE HUNTSVILLE-MARION COUNTY CHAMBER OF COMMERCE IN ALABAMA NEXT MONTH.
WALT MILLER SAYS THE INTERIM PRESIDENT WILL BE MIKE DYER... WHO RECENTLY HEADED A CAMPAIGN TO SAVE THE GEORGIA SPORTS AND MUSIC HALLS OF FAME.
DYER SAYS CHERRY HELPED TRANSFORM THE CHAMBER INTO A PRODUCTIVE ADVOCATE FOR BUSINESS INTERESTS.
"Chip has helped to build financial stability in the chamber, he's gone out and helped intitaitve the first 'Macon Now' campaign, which raised over 2 million dollars.
CHERRY'S LAST DAY WITH THE CHAMBER IS DECEMBER 14.
WE HAVE A CORRECTION ON ONE OF OUR ELECTION RESULTS.
WE INCORRECTLY IDENTIFIED THE WINNER OF THE EATONTON POST ONE AND THREE COUNCIL SEAT.
WITH 100 PERCENT OF PRECINCTS REPORTING... CHARLES HALEY DEFEATED THE INCUMBENT.. JIM HALL... BY RECEIVING 56 PERCENT OF THE VOTES.
SEVERAL AREAS IN CENTRAL GEORGIA APPROVED SUNDAY ALCOHOL SALES DURING YESTERDAY'S ELECTIONS.
THEY INCLUDED MACON... BIBB COUNTY... WARNER ROBINS... AND CENTERVILLE.
OF THE CENTRAL GEORGIA AREAS THAT HAD A SUNDAY SALES MEASURE ON THE BALLOT... ONLY OGLETHORPE IN MACON COUNTY... FAILED TO APPROVE IT.
YOU MAY BE WONDERING WHEN THESE NEW SUNDAY SALES WILL BEGIN.
A SPOKESPERSON IN THE SECRETARY OF STATE OFFICE SAID OFFICIALS IN EACH COUNTY OR CITY MUST APPROVE ORDINANCES AUTHORIZING THE THE SALES BEFORE THEY CAN START.
AND... THEY MUST SET THE HOURS THE SUNDAY SALES ARE ALLOWED.
THAT MEANS.. THEY MAY NOT ALL GO INTO EFFECT ON THE SAME DAY.
IN BIBB COUNTY... COMMISSIONERS NEXT WEEK ARE SCHEDULED TO CONSIDER AN ORDINANCE...THAT WOULD ALLOW SUNDAY SALES FROM 12:30 P.M. UNTIL 11:30 P.M.
THE PROPOSAL SETS THE START DATE AS DECEMBER 4TH.
TODAY'S 13WMAZ DOT COM WEB POLL ASKS...WILL YOU BUY ALCOHOL ON SUNDAYS WHEN IT BECOMES LEGAL?
SO FAR 53 PERCENT OF YOU SAY YES.
47 PERCENT OF YOU SAY NO.
VOTE NOW... LOOK FOR THE QUESTION ON THE RIGHT SIDE OF THE HOMEPAGE AT 13WMAZ DOT COM.
MACON POLICE SPOKESWOMAN JAMI GAUDET ISSUED A CORRECTION TODAY ABOUT A RECENT CRIMESTOPPERS AD.
ACCORDING TO A NEWS RELEASE... MACON P-D MISIDENTIFIED A BURGLARY SUSPECT IN OCTOBER.
THE RELEASE SAYS THEY ARE NOW LOOKING FOR DANIEL D. HENDERSON IN CONNECTION WITH THE CASE.
IF YOU HAVE ANY INFORMATION ON THE WHEREABOUTS OF DANIEL D. HENDERSON... CONTACT CRIMESTOPPERS AT 1-877-68-CRIME.
AGAIN.. THAT'S 1-877-68-CRIME.
THAT'S RIGHT... WE'RE TAKING A TRIP TO THE "WHERE YOU LIVE" SITES AT 13WMAZ DOT COM.
TONIGHT'S DESTINATION... THE FORSYTH-MONROE PAGE.
THIS WEEKEND... TAFFETA MEMORIES PREMIERES AT THE ROSE THEATER IN FORSYTH.
THE MUSICAL COMEDY WILL BE PRESENTED BY THE BACKLOT PLAYERS.
ADULT TICKETS ARE FIFTEEN DOLLARS... AND STUDENT TICKETS ARE 12 DOLLARS.
YOU CAN CATCH THE PERFORMANCES THIS FRIDAY... SATURDAY AND SUNDAY AT 8 P-M.
FOR TICKETS.. CALL THE BOX OFFICE AT 478-944-0443.
THANKS FOR JOINING US.... WE'LL BE BACK TONIGHT AT 11.
BUT REMEMBER...THE NEWS IS ALWAYS ON AT 13WMAZ.COM !
THE EVENING NEWS IS UP NEXT.
HAVE A SAFE NIGHT EVERYONE.