MACON, Ga. — Looking ahead to the Macon-Bibb elections, we wanted to hear from people who live and work in town about what issues are important to them.
So, the 13WMAZ Listening Lab hit the road -- three weeks, 9 locations, and online too. You talked and we listened.
From race relations and litter to jobs, property taxes, affordable housing, and roads.
Out of a list of 20 issues, we asked you to choose your top five.
From the Rosa Jackson center in east Macon to the Lofts at Zebulon Road. To Tattnall Square Park and Porter Ellis in sub-south. The Listening Lab set up shop across Bibb county.
The number one issue over all?
"Violent crime. It seems to me like it's on the rise," James Lucas said at the Rosa Jackson Listening Lab.
Violent crime was in the top five for *every single location* we visited. It was the number one concern on 180 of the 325 surveys.
"The number one issue over here is crime. It's not as bad as it used to be, but it could still get better," Deborah Evans said at the Rosa Jackson Listening Lab.
Next on the list? Blight.
People mentioned blight. Both commercial and residential, over and over again.
"We need to clean up the blight, cause blight's what's got the neighborhoods down," Wendy Robinson said at the Senior Center Listening Lab.
139 people said blight was one of the top five issues that they want to see elected officials work on.
Even though county leaders like the mayor and commissioners don't impact it directly, 121 people put schools and education among their top five issues.
"If we can't give them the kind of education they need to pull themselves up and succeed in the world, you know, it's not good," Cindy Mitchell said at the Tattnall Square Park Listening Lab.
In nearly a three way tie after violent crime, blight and schools were, traffic and road conditions, property taxes, and first responders' salaries.
"Homeowners shouldn't bear the brunt of everything that everybody wants to do in this county," Jerry McDougald said at the Amerson River Park Listening Lab.
"The city really needs to focus on getting the sheriff's department back up to where it needs to be," Keith Ryals said at the Porter Ellis Listening Lab.
Across the board, citizens say they want local government to be more responsive.
"Sometimes people in the community feel that nobody hears them, and nobody kind of gives them the opportunity to share," Derek Dumas said at the Rosa Jackson Listening Lab.
Bernice Wheeler was the very first person to show up on day one of the Listening Lab at Rosa Jackson Recreation Center.
“I didn’t know I was going to be the first person, but I’m glad I am. It’s very important to me because I just want to have a voice,” Wheeler said.
Other concerns people added to our survey included homelessness, litter/trash pickup, and more accountability and transparency in local government.
Here is a spreadsheet of the results from the Listening Lab:
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