As election day approaches in Macon-Bibb, candidates in commission races are talking money. Specifically how the new consolidated government can make more of it and save more of it.
The District One race pits political veteran Gary Bechtel with newcomer Harold Young.
The first order of business for the new government will be to come up with a plan to cut spending by 20 percent. The law says that must happen by 2019. After cutting the duplication of services that a two government merger will bring, what are you left with? Balancing the budget, says Gary Bechtel. He sat on the Bibb County School Board for 12 years and has served on the county commission for last 9 months. "I think that we have the revenue from a lot of different sources to balance the budget…it’s just going to take some difficult decisions, we may have to look at privatization. One of the things I’ve been routinely talking about is the need to look at private garbage service. We have private garbage service in unincorporated areas of the county and it has worked extremely well."
Bechtel’s opponent Harold Young says he doesn't want to do that because it will cost jobs.
Young is a minister and executive director of Macon-A-Change, a youth service organization he started. Young says the cure for the budget lies in bringing more money to Macon-Bibb. He says there’s money in the truck stop business between Savannah and Atlanta. "There are over a hundred thousand trucks that travel down I16/75. We need to take advantage of that. Jackson, Georgia has five truck stops, and Dublin has three. We don’t have one and we’re in the dead center of Georgia. We just have to find other ways of generating money."
Young doesn't say how government could help fix that.
The candidates differ in their views on experience. Bechtel says it's necessary as a new government figures itself out. Young says it’s time for new energy as many candidates like Bechtel have been in office for years, with little progress to show for it.