The Bibb Legislative Delegation is 99.5 percent finished with a proposal to consolidate the Macon and county governments.
State Reps. Nikki Randall and James "Bubber" Epps discussed consolidation, sentencing reform and tax reform during a taping of this week's Close-Up program.
But both Randall, a Democrat, and Epps, a Republican, agree that a consolidation bill will make it through the General Assembly this year.
The two lawmakers also agree that the proposal will be approved with a unanimous vote from the seven-member delegation.
"We are about 99.5 percent done," Randall said. "We weren't that far apart anyway. we fully expect to push this thing forward, introduce a new bill in the first two weeks of the session, and actually as a delegation, we're pretty excited about it."
Epps said the proposal moved forward because of Randall's leadership.
"I applaud Rep. Randall," Epps said. "She's the one who kept the balls in the air and made sure that we stayed on target with it. I think the most encouraging aspect of this is that we've been able as a delegation to sit in a room and close the door and everyone speak from a personal perspective. It's been addressed totally with respect for everyone's opinion and everyone's input."
The two lawmakers said the delgation has agreed on the size of a consolidated government, which has been a sticking point in the past.
But they declined to say how many elected officials there would be in a consolidated government. Randall did say, however, that it would be less than 15, size of the current City Council, and more than five, size of the current commission.
Another past sticking point that has been resolved, Randall said, is whether the top law enforcement officer would be appointed or elected.
They declined to say which.
Randall said the consolidation bill would be introduced as local legislation within the first two weeks of the legislative session. Although the entire General Assembly must approve local bills, they're usually run through without debate if the majority of the delegation supports it.
Once the bill's introduced, Randall said the delegation would hold a news conference at the Capitol, go over the entire proposal and answer any questions.
After the proposal gets through the General Assembly, it must be signed by Gov. Nathan Deal. Once done, Macon and Bibb County voters would decide in a November referendum whether they want to consolidate.
You can catch Close-Up in its entirety on WMAZ at noon Saturday and 6 a.m. Suday.