City looking at $250K from Unallocated Reserve to Pay for Consolidation
The Macon city council met Monday Afternoon to decide whether to authorize $250K to pay consultants working on the Macon-Bibb county consolidation.
"Consolidation is about improving government efficiency," said City of Macon Spokesperson Chris Floore. "It's about reducing duplication of services and it also eliminates some double taxations for city residents. There is a lot of work to be done on the front end which could cost some money."
Costs that are to be split equally between the city and the county. They'll pay for consulting firms identifying the best practices to build a new government. But with a Consolidation Task Force already in place, why pay a third party to get the job done? Floore says the process is extensive and it has to be in depth.
"Working with consultants allows the facilitation between the two governments," said Floore. "It allows for identifying the needs, it allows for identifying the best practices across central Georgia and across the nation."
As of today, the city and county are looking at a $376K budget to pay for consultants. Split that in half equally for about $188K each. And with more contracts and consultants expected within the next month, the city would like to take out the $250K now, rather than to take out more later.
One of the contracts have already been approved and work began in October, the others are pending approval. The Carl Vinson Institute of Government has won 4 of the 6 bids for more than $130K.
Floore says both governments have admitted that they have flaws and need to correct the mistakes before combining governments
"So do you build a new system systems that need improvement or do you hire someone to tell what type of brand new system is needed?"
In Monday evenings appropriations meeting some city council members spoke out against hiring consultants.
Councilwoman Elaine Lucas, who did not support consolidation to began with, said this puts additional costs on taxpayers and called consolidation a blank check.
Councilman Virgil Watkins said consultants were being hired to do jobs that overlapped, and question paying the Carl Vinson Institute of Government four times.
The resolution failed in appropriations by a vote of two to two.