MACON, Ga. — Bibb County voters went to the polls Tuesday and cast their ballots for the Macon Water Authority's new chair.
Gary Bechtel defeated Desmond Brown for the water authority seat.
Bechtel received 8,499, or 69% of the votes, and Brown got 31%, or 3,818 votes.
The two competed to replace current chairman Sam Hart, who is retiring.
Gary Bechtel is a planning and zoning commissioner, and has served on the Bibb County School Board, Bibb County Commission, and Macon-Bibb Commission, after consolidation. Bechtel also has experience serving on the Macon Water Authority. He was a county appointee between January 2017 and March 2018.
Last month, he said the biggest hurdle the water authority faces is stormwater education, and transparency.
"When you have a utility such as stormwater. you need to be transparent as to what you're using the dollars for. I think the authority is working on that," Bechtel explained. "If I'm chairman, we're going to make certain that the money raised from stormwater, as well as for water and sewer, that we're transparent on what we're doing with it."
“I’d like to thank all the voters in Macon-Bibb County who got a lot of messages, a lot of communications from me. They responded. I’m very pleased they chose me as their new chairman of the Macon Water Authority. Just want to give all the blessings and grace to Lord Jesus Christ who blessed me with this opportunity,” Bechtel said.
Bechtel said Tuesday, as the new chairman, he wants to focus on stretching the dollar from money collected on stormwater fees and evaluating MWA infrastructure to avoid issues like we're seeing on Log Cabin Drive with the broken water line.
He also spoke about providing ethical leadership in the authority.
“So that people trust what we're doing. Water... sewer is great for the health and welfare of the community, so we just want to keep doing the job we're doing and let people know they can trust us,” Bechtel said.