Poll Shows Wide Support for City-County Consolidation

March 10, 2010

A recent telephone poll of 300 likely general election voters in Bibb County commissioned by Mercer University and NewTown Macon shows broad support for consolidating the Macon and Bibb County governments.

Conducted Feb. 16-17 by Wilson Research Strategies, the poll revealed that nearly two in three (65 percent) Bibb County voters say they strongly support consolidation, while fewer than one in five (19 percent) say they strongly oppose it. Eighty percent of voters in the City of Macon support consolidation and more than half – 51 percent – of voters in unincorporated Bibb County are in favor of the measure. Only one in three – or 36 percent voters — in unincorporated Bibb County oppose consolidation.

The study’s margin of error is equal to +/- 5.66 percent in 95 out of 100 cases.

“I appreciate Mercer’s and NewTown’s commitment to finding out the pulse of our community regarding the consolidation issue,” said State Rep. Allen Peake of Macon. “Clearly, this poll shows that now is the time to give our citizens an opportunity to vote on whether to consolidate Macon and Bibb County.”

Other insights revealed by the poll show that in a new consolidated government, voters overwhelmingly support having an elected sheriff responsible for law enforcement in Bibb County. Seven in 10 – 70 percent – favor an elected sheriff, while fewer than one in seven – 15 percent – prefer an appointed police chief.

Voters also expressed a preference for holding nonpartisan elections for city/county officials in a new consolidated government, with 56 percent of those polled saying they would prefer to vote on candidates without party labels for Bibb County offices, including the mayor, commissioners, coroner, tax commissioner and sheriff.

A bill (H.B. 1161) sponsored by Rep. Peake is currently making its way through the Georgia Legislature that will clear the way for a fall countywide referendum on the issue.