Consolidating Macon

Macon, Georgia is the county seat of Bibb County, Georgia. The city is not so big as to emcompass the entire county and a whole lot of people are fleeing the city for the county. The city is plagued by an incompetent mayor and inept city council that both like to raise property taxes because, in the words of one city councilwoman, a property tax increase does not affect her constituents.

Years ago, Macon was dominated by Republicans in a nonpartisan system. The Republicans, thinking it would benefit Republicans, started having partisan elections. Well, now Democrats outnumber Republicans and, inside the city, poorer black voters outnumber wealthier white voters, so property taxes go up and the city, due to poor governance, declines.

The city is now to the point of financial collapse and the voters are being presented with the question of consolidating the city and county governments. For the first time ever Republicans control the local delegation — the legislators in the Georgia General Assembly who represent Bibb County — so consolidation could be adopted on terms more palatable to the Bibb County voters who have fled the city. They tend to be wealthier and more Republican — also whiter. Race, by the way, is always an issue in Macon. If the local black politicians do not scream racism, the editorial board of the local paper is more than happy to yell.

So, all of this is to say, the city and county now face a unique question. And, like Calvin Coolidge, the voters will most likely do nothing. Coolidge, you will remember, said “If you see ten troubles coming down the road, you can be sure that nine will run into the ditch before they reach you.” He was a true conservative and should be the model for considering consolidation.

Having had many conversations on the issue, I am inclined to agree. The county residents do not want the city’s problems, though that may be short sighted. The city does not want consolidation unless it gets to set the terms — namely allow the same people who are destroying the city to control and thereby destory the county. So, even though I live in the city limits, I must advocate the policy of “screw Macon.”

Unless we can be sure of a county commission that is small in number and composed of responsible adults who do not see racism at every corner and who love to raise property taxes while engaging in greed and corruption for pet projects, I do not want consolidation and will oppose it.

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Erick Erickson

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1 Comment

  • I live close to downtown (just off Tatnall Square Park), so I probably don’t understand the point of view of those outside the city, but I’ve never understood what they have to gain from consolidation. Everyone has an interest in keeping downtown viable, but why be subject to city officials?