HELLO EVERYONE AND THANKS FOR JOINING US....I'M LEAH JOHNSON..
AND I'M FRANK MALLOY.
THIS IS EYEWITNESS NEWS AT SIX...
OUR TOP STORY TONIGHT... PEOPLE IN BIBB COUNTY COULD VOTE THIS SUMMER ON WHETHER TO CONSOLIDATE THE CITIES OF MACON AND PAYNE CITY WITH THE COUNTY..
THE LOCAL DELEGATION FILED THE 39 PAGE BILL FRIDAY..
DELEGATION CHAIR REPRESENTATIVE NIKKI RANDALL SAYS THE BILL WAS READ FOR THE FIRST TIME IN THE HOUSE TODAY...
BRITTINY BARBER JOINS US NOW TO BREAK DOWN SOME OF THE MAJOR POINTS .
AFTER YEARS OF DISCUSSION... LAWMAKERS FROM MACON AND BIBB COUNTY HAVE AGREED ON A PLAN TO CONSOLIDATE...
HOUSE BILL 1171 CALLS FOR AN ELECTED NINE MEMBER COMMISSION... AND MAYOR...
THE MAYOR WOULD HOLD ALL EXECUTIVE POWERS OF THE RESTRUCTURED GOVERNMENT... HE OR SHE WOULD MAKE $100-THOUSAND PER YEAR....
THE BILL DIVIDES THE COUNTY INTO NINE DISTRICTS OF NEARLY EQUAL POPULATION...
THE COMMISSION MEMBERS AND MAYOR WOULD BE ELECTED IN NOVEMBER OF 2013...
THE BILL SAYS THE CURRENT CITY COUNCIL AND COUNTY COMMISSION MEMBERS.... IN OFFICE AS OF THE SECOND MONDAY IN JANUARY 20-13.. WILL STAY IN THOSE JOBS UNTIL THE NEW COMMISSION TAKE OVER IN 2014...
THE LEGISLATION PUTS THE SHERIFF AS THE COUNTY'S TOP COP... in charge of FACILITIES.. EQUIPMENT... VEHICLES.. RECORDS AND PERSONNEL FROM THE MACON POLICE DEPARTMENT AND THE BIBB COUNTY SHERIFF OFFICE...
BUT MAYOR DOES THE POWER TO APPOINT A POLICE CHIEF...
THE RESTRUCTURING PLAN ALSO AIMS TO CUT DOWN SPENDING...
UNTIL JULY 20-14... THE CONSOLIDATED GOVERNMENT WOULD USE THE COMBINED BUDGETS OF MACON, PAYNE CITY AND BIBB COUNTY...
THE FIRST FULL 12 MONTH BUDGET FOR THE COMBINED GOVERNMENT... CAN NOT GO OVER THE GENERAL OPERATING BUDGETS OF THE THREE ENTITIES...
2016 FISCAL YEARS BUDGET... MUST BE 95 PERCENT OF THE PRECEDING YEAR'S OPERATING BUDGET...
2017 WILL 90 PERCENT OF THAT...
AND THE OPERATING BUDGET DECREASES BY FIVE PERCENT a year tHROUGH 2019..
ACCORDING TO THE LEGISLATION... IF IT PASSES... ALL OF THE CURRENT ORDINANCES AND RESOLUTIONS FOR BOTH MACON AND BIBB COUNTY WOULD STAY IN EFFECT....UNTIL THEY'RE MODIFIED OR REPEALED...
IF APPROVED... A TRANSITION TASK FORCE WILL BE APPOINTED IN SEPTEMBER TO PREPARE FOR THE CHANGES...
IT INCLUDES MACON AND BIBB COUNTY LEADERS.. ALONG WITH MEMBERS OF THE LOCAL DELEGATION AND THE CHIEF OF POLICE AND SHERIFF..
BIBB COUNTY COMMISSIONER LONZY EDWARDS SAYS THERE ARE GOOD AND BAD PARTS OF THE CONSOLIDATION BILL.
HE SAYS 9 IS A GOOD NUMBER FOR COMMISSIONERS... AND HE LIKES THE ECONOMIC OPPORTUNITY PROGRAM BUILT INTO THE BILL.
BUT HE SAYS... HE'S SKEPTICAL ABOUT THE STEEP BUDGET CUTS THE BILL MANDATES.
"Given what I know abotu the cost of governement, I'm not sure that's doable. You know, the current circumstnace that we face right now, for example with our jail and our sheriff's department, that consumes roughly a third of our budget and that's gonna be there regardless of the form of government. There are any number of other expenses of government that are not taken into account."
WE ALSO SPOKE WITH REPRESENTATIVE ALLEN PEAKE ABOUT THE CONSOLIDATION BILL.
HE SAID IT CAME FROM A TOUGH PROCESS THAT INVOLVED A LOT OF COMPROMISE.
IN THE END HE SAYS... THIS BILL WAS A LONG TIME COMING.
"This has been something that's been worked on for close to 100 years and so this couldn't have been something you could rush through. We needed to make sure that we thought it through thoroughly. There are a couple of key components, like it provides a smaller government, from 21 elected officials to 10. It allows one voice to speak for the community. All those ingredients I think are key ingredients for a successful consolidation plan. Clearly, we are losing population, losing tax base. If we continue down this same path, we are going to continue to dwindle as a community. We've got to have fundamental, systematic change in the way we govern ourselves. I think we finally got a plan that all of the community can embrace. It doesn't have everything that I wanted. It doesn't have everything in there that all members of the legislature wanted, but I believe it was a good plan that I hope our citizens will vote for in July."
IF THE BILLCLEARS THE HOUSE AND SENATE....AND IS SIGNED BY GOVERNOR DEAL...
VOTERS IN MACON...BIBB AND PAYNE CITY WOULD VOTE ON IT JULY 31ST...THE DAY OF GEORGIA'S STATEWIDE PRIMARY.
WHEN GEORGIA VOTERS HEAD TO THE POLLS TO PICK A PRESIDENT IN NOVEMBER...MANY WILL BE THINKING ABOUT THE PRICE OF A GALLON OF GAS.
THAT'S ONE OF THE FINDINGS OF A SURVEYUSA POLL OF MORE THAN 11 HUNDRED REGISTERED VOTERS.
THAT POLL SAYS
40 PERCENT SAY THE PRICE OF GAS WILL BE A MAJOR FACTOR IN HOW THEY VOTE.
28 PERCENT SAY IT WILL BE A MINOR FACTOR....
AND 27 PERCENT SAY ...IT WILL NOT BE A FACTOR AT ALL.
THE MARGIN OF ERROR....FOUR POINT SEVEN PERCENT.
THE TRIPLE-A SAYS TODAY'S AVERAGE PRICE IN GEORGIA FOR A GALLON OF REGULAR IS 3 DOLLARS AND 66 CENTS...ABOUT 40 CENTS MORE THAN A MONTH AGO.
THAT POLL ALSO TOOK A LOOK AT HOW GEORGIA VOTERS VIEW THE FOUR MAJOR REPUBLICAN CANDIDATES...JUST OVER A WEEK BEFORE SUPER TUESDAY.
WE'LL MORE SURVEY USA RESULTS ON THE G-O-P'S RACE FOR THE PEACH STATE....TONIGHT ON EYEWITNESS NEWS AT 11.
WE'RE SHARING VIEWPOINTS FROM SUPPORTERS OF EACH REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE.
TODAY... JASON DOWNEY EXPLAINS IN HIS OWN WORDS... WHY HE THINKS YOU SHOULD CAST YOUR VOTE FOR FORMER MASSACHUSETTS GOVERNOR MITT ROMNEY..
"Hi, my name's Jason Downey and I'm the campaign chairman in Bibb County for the Mitt Romney for President campaign. The reason I support Mitt Romney is because I believe in November, Mitt Romney has the best chance of defeating Barack Obama for President. Mitt Romney is a true conservative. He supports tax cuts for the middle class, he supports a strong military. He has a very socially conservative platform. His platform socially may not be as conservative as Rick Santorum or Newt Gingrich but it still represents the ideals of the people of the state of Georgia. He's proven time and time again through his debates, through his platform assertions, that what he'll do will help the middle class, will help drive unemployment down, create jobs and will be better for America. I look at the south, I look at Atlanta and Macon and I see foreclosures and houses that are vacant. I believe Mitt Romney has a plan that will generate house sales, that will generate driving property values back up where they need to be. I think that Mitt Romney with his experience in the real world having created jobs and knowing what works and what doesn't work will be able to help this economy, will be able to generate jobs and be better for this country. And that's why I support Mitt Romney and I hope that you will vote for him on election day.
GEORGIA'S REPUBLICAN PRIMARY FALLS ON SUPER TUESDAY... A WEEK FROM TOMORROW.
13WMAZ WILL HAVE COMPLETE COVERAGE ON ELECTION NIGHT.
TWO ROBINS AIRMEN RECIEVED BRONZE STARS TODAY FOR SAVING LIVES AND CAPTURING INSURGENTS DURING THEIR SERVICE IN AFGHANISTAN.
LORRA LYNCH JONES CAUGHT UP WITH THE TWO HEROES... TO FIND OUT HOW THEIR LEADERSHIP EARNED THEM ONE OF THE MILITARY'S HIGHEST HONORS.... NOT ONCE... BUT TWICE.
GROWING-UP IN LAS VEGAS....
TSgt Ruben Martinez: (14:30) "Not much to do back in Vegas."
RUBEN MARTINEZ SAW THE AIR FORCE AS HIS TICKET OUT.
Ruben Martinez: (14:363) "Originally, it was going to be a 4 year thing and get out. 10 and a half years later, here I am."
NOT JUST HERE... BUT HIGHLY DECORATED... A BRONZE STAR FOR HIS SERVICE IN AFGHANISTAN LAST YEAR THE MOST RECENT HONOR.
Ruben Martinez (5:30) "Something I dont' think I quite deserve, but someone did."
SOMEONE ALSO THOUGHT HIS FRIEND MASTER SERGEANT SHANNON BLANTON DESERVED A BRONZE STAR TOO.
MSgt Shannon Blanton: (06) "It's the fourth highest medal for combat operations. It's a big honor to get that."
BLANTON AND MARTINEZ SERVED TOGETHER AT BAGRAM AIR FORCE BASE..
nats- reading honors
THEY'RE CREDITED WITH A LAUNDRY LIST OF ACCOMPLISHMENTS... INCLUDING TRAVELING NEARLY 4-THOUSAND MILES OVER THE ROCKY TERRAIN OF AFGHANISTAN TO REMOVE WEAPONS CACHES... DEFUSE EXPLOSIVES... CAPTURE 27 INSURGENTS.. AND PROTECT THE LIVES OF THOUSANDS OF AMERICAN TROOPS.
TSgt Ruben Martinez: (5;45) "Just made sure my people came home safe everyday. That's my job."
MSgt Shannon Blanton: (1:36) "While you're in the area, you really don't think about medals or the outcome, 'til it's all over."
BOTH SAY THE BRONZE STAR NEVER CROSSED THEIR MIND THEN... ESPECIALLY BECAUSE THEY BOTH RECEIVED ONE BEFORE... AFTER A 2009 DEPLOYMENT TO IRAQ.
MSgt Blanton: (3:24) "Two receive two of these is rare."
TSgt Martinez: (4:40) "I thought it was lucky the first time. To get a second one is amazing."
AND SURPRISING TO MARTINEZ.... AN EXEMPLARY AIRMEN WHO STUMBLED UPON A CHANCE AT SUCCESS.
>> PRESIDENT ROOSEVELT AUTHORIZED THE BRONZE STAR MEDAL IN 1944.
ITS AWARDED TO MEMBERS OF ALL BRANCHES OF THE MILITARY HEROISM IN COMBAT OR MERITORIOUS SERVICE.
MARTINEZ AND BLANTON EARNED IT FOR MERITORIOUS SERVICE.
A MILLEGEVILLE DISTILLERY WANTS TO TAKE A SHOT... AT TOURISM.
KATELYN HECK EXPLAINS WHY OWNERS SAY ONE SMALL SWIG... COULD MEAN A BIG BOOST FOR THE BUSINESS.
(NATS: "tastes like alcohol")
SHAWN HALL WANTS FOLKS TO TASTE HIS PRODUCT FRESH OFF THE DISTILLING LINE.
GEORGIA DISTILLING COMPANY MAKES COLT FORDS GOOD TIME MOONSHINE AND VODKA... BUT NOW THEY WANT TO ADD TOURS AND TASTINGS TO THE MENU.
(SOT: wineries right now can sell their own products on site, you can do tastings on site... breweries cant sell on site but they can do tastings on site... and distilleries... we cant do any of it.)
SO THE COMPANY... ALONG WITH REPRESENTATIVE RUSTY KIDD BREWED UP A LEGISLATIVE BILL TO LET DISTILLERIES OFFER TASTINGS TO CUSTOMERS.
HALL SAYS A FULL TOUR TOPPED OFF WITH A SMALL SAMPLE... IS A COMBINATION FOR SUCCESS.
(SOT: tastings equal more sales through awareness which benefits us... the retail... and the distribution.)
THE PROPOSED LEGISLATION WOULD ONLY ALLOW *ONE* HALF OUNCE SAMPLE PER PERSON...HALL SAYS THAT JUST ENOUGH TO GIVE CUSTOMERS A QUICK TASTE.
(SOT:theyre not going to be intoxocated after half of an ounce... thats like drinking a third of a beer.)
HALL SAYS THE TASTINGS WOULD BOOST BUSINESS... BUT SAYS IT WILL ALSO (NATS) HELP SUCCESS TRICKLE IN TO THE COMMUNITY.
(SOT:were trying to do things to bring more people to the area, get more people interested in the area, highlight the community, and hopefully bring other businesses here.)
GEORGIA DISTILLING ISNT THE ONLY ONE ITCHING FOR MORE PUBLICITY FOR THEIR PRODUCTS.
A LOCAL PACKAGE STORE OWNER SAYS THE GOOD TIME LINE IS ALREADY A BIG SELLER... BUT THINKS GIVING CUSTOMERS A SMALL TASTE AT THE DISTILLERY... WILL BRING PEOPLE TO LIQUOR STORES... FOR THE WHOLE BOTTLE.
13WMAZ EYEWITNESS NEWS
>> HOUSE BILL 5-14 PASSED THE HOUSE AND IS NOW SITTING IN THE SENATE.
HALL SAYS IF THE LEGISLATION PASSES.... TOURS AND TASTINGS COULD START BY EARLY FALL.