If you own property in downtown Macon, your property taxes will be going up on your next bill.
In a unanimous vote, Bibb Commissioners approved raising downtown property taxes five mills as a part of a downtown improvement district.
NewTown Macon is behind the project and says the funding will go towards cleaning up downtown and making it safer.
Gene Dunwody owns Gateway Plaza downtown and says he is worried this will hurt some property owners like himself.
“It means our property taxes will go up 20%, over 20% at the Gateway Plaza, and there’s no way in this competitive market to pass that on to our tenants,” says Dunwody.
The president of Newtown Macon, Josh Rogers, says this could help attract more people to move downtown by making it a more inviting experience.
“Hiring five people full-time who will serve as safety ambassadors and a clean team who will maintain street furniture, remove graffiti, can provide directions, advice, instructions for tourists and other visitors downtown,” says Rogers.
Rogers says based on downtown's property value they should bring in $375,000 per year.
He says it lasts for six years unless it goes through this process again to get renewed.
County shoots for a new look at Bowden
Teeing off at Bowden Golf Course could look very different in the next couple of years.
Bibb Commissioners approved tapping into $20,000 of SPLOST funds to hire an architect to create a five-year masterplan.
The county voted on using, Mike Young, a consultant out of Athens to create the plan.
The course's manager, Brandon Dole, says the main areas they want to focus on are the greens, tees, and bunkers.
Dole says they are looking into laying a newer type of grass on the greens, but Dole says they will meet with Young to finalize these plans.
County bans alcohol in Rosa Parks Square
Alcohol will no longer be allowed inside of Macon's Rosa Parks Square once a new green space is created on Poplar Street.
However, until that green space is created, Mayor Robert Reichert says he will not sign alcohol permits for Rosa Parks Square.
In a five to four vote, Bibb commissioners voted to create a space on Poplar Street for people to hold events with alcohol.
Reichert says the green space creates a compromise for both sides on the issue.
Commissioner Gary Bechtel voted against it because he says there are no plans for the new space.
Bechtel says if the mayor is not going to sign off on permits it could leave people with nowhere to hold these events.
“So there will be no alternative for a period of time, and to that effect, we have seen nothing as relates to what it’s going to cost. No idea where the money's coming from, no plans, no survey, no nothing. We are throwing things against a wall, so we can all feel better and get an uncomfortable item off our plate,” says Bechtel.
Commissioner Larry Schlesinger voted in favor because he says it sends a message of unity for the community.
“Creating a situation that will bring people together and at the same time will allow the consumption of alcohol by permit in an area that is so very close by,” says Schlesinger.
Reichert says people should feel confident the Poplar Street park will be built since it is in the ordinance.
Downtown Macon gets new bike racks
Commissioners approved 12 new bike racks in Downtown Macon.
That will add 10 regular racks and two artistic racks on several downtown streets.
The executive director of Bike Walk Macon, Rachel Hollar, says they are funding the project with a $5,000 downtown challenge grant.
Hollar says by adding more places to park bikes, they are hoping it will encourage people to spend more time and money downtown.