Payne City Survived Consolidation Vote

4:37 PM, Jan 29, 2013   |    comments
  • State Sen. Cecil Staton, (R) Macon
  • State Sen. David Lucas, (D) Macon
    
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Payne City, a little hamlet inside the Macon city limits, hasn't been abolished after all.

Last summer, voters approved consolidation of the Macon and Bibb County governments. The new consolidated government is scheduled to take office Jan. 1, 2014.

Many believed Payne City was included in the consolidation vote.

But state Sen. Cecil Staton said Tuesday that wasn't the case and state lawmakers must enact separate legislation to abolish Payne City.

Beginning in January, three senators now represent different parts of Bibb County.

Staton represents parts of north and southwest Bibb County, including part of Payne City. State Sen. Burt Jones represents parts of north and northwest Bibb County, but not Payne City.

David Lucas represents parts of east and south Bibb County, including parts of Payne City.

And there's the rub.

Since Jones doesn't represent Payne City, Staton said he doesn't have a say in Payne City affairs. Only Staton and Lucas do.

In order to abolish Payne City with local legislation, Staton said it requires at least two votes from Bibb's three-member senatorial delegation.

Staton favors abolition, Lucas doesn't. Jones doesn't have a vote. 

When Staton put together proposed legislation to abolish Payne City, Lucas declined to sign it.

During an interview at the Capitol Tuesday, Lucas said he hasn't signed the proposal, primarily because he hasn't heard from Payne City residents.

"I'm waiting to hear from them," said Lucas, adding that Payne City voted against consolidation last summer.

But Staton said his patience is running thin. 

If Lucas doesn't sign off on the local legislation with the next two weeks, Staton said he'll introduce general legislation and take the matter before the full Senate for consideration.

With Republicans controlling the Senate, Staton said he believes the Upper Chamber will approve abolishing Payne City. Staton is a Republican, Lucas a Democrat.

If the Senate approves, it'll move to the House, which is also controlled by Republicans. 

State Rep. Allen Peake predicts the House would approve the measure and send it to Gov. Nathan Deal for consideration.

Deal, a Republican, would determine whether to sign the bill into law. 

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