MACON, Georgia (41NBC/ WMGT) – After years of talking about moving the Macon-Bibb County Municipal Court to the state courthouse, commissioners are giving the project the green light to do so. However, the county struggles to find small businesses and minority contractors to do the project.
Macon-Bibb County Commissioners contemplated consolidating Municipal Court with the rest of the courts for years.
Currently, the Municipal Court, which is on Poplar Street in the Government Center’s basement, plans to move to the State Court House on Mulberry Street.
“Below us is a bit older. I think there are internet and flooding issues because it is in the basement,” Commissioner Virgil Watkins said.
SPLOST dollars is funding the project. Bibb SPLOST Coordinator Clay Murphy says the project may have scared off some contractors because of the court’s security procedures.
“They have to go through background checks. They have to go through screening when they come in and a few vendors said ‘nah, I don’t need to have all that,” Murphy said.
Commissioner Elaine Lucas mentioned small businesses and minority contractors stepping in to take on the renovation project.
Murphy says the way government contracts work is the county turns the invoice into the financing department. Then the contractor will write his workers a check. Murphy says it’s sometimes a 60-day process.
“Having a difficult time having brick masons show up and concrete workers to show up. They just got too much going on and they rather go do a job in three days and get paid than wait 30 days through a government contract,” Murphy said.
Murphy says some bigger business contractors are bidding on the project.
The renovations in the State Court House basement begins this summer.
Watkins says the current municipal court will be renovated and other organizations will move in.