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Macon-Bibb commissioners approve $159 million budget

Macon-Bibb commissioners voted in favor of a $159 million budget Monday evening.
MACON, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) -- Just one day before it goes into effect, Macon-Bibb commissioners voted unanimously to approve a $159 million budget.

The final number comes in exactly at $159,018,465. That number is about $300,000 more than Mayor Robert Reichert's $158,700,600 initial budget.

Macon-Bibb spokesperson, Chris Floore, tells 41NBC the city increased it's revenue projection to present a balanced budget that does not dip into the reserve funds.

Reichert is pleased this final projection does not call for a dip into reserves, but says the budget is a working document.

"What we gotta do is track very closely income and expenses as we go through the year... If the expenses exceed what we have allocated for, then we have to find some way to keep the budget balanced and that could, in a worst case scenario, mean we have to dip into reserves, but we hope not," said Reichert.

The budget hit a lot of hurdles during hearings as many outside agencies and constituents were concerned over cuts in spending. The initial budget called for no money toward indigent care, and the final document calls for $475,000.

Cuts in transit also drew concern from those who use the service, particularly those who benefit from the para-transit system. The agency stood to lose around $100,000 during the commissioners hearings. In the current proposal, para-transit will receive $317,000 from the government and the transit authority is getting $2,434,000 in funding. Both of those numbers reflect what the agency received last year.

"We heard a lot about museums, indigent health care, para-transit, and we've tried to make hard choices, and fund what we needed to fund, and still have a balanced budget," said Reichert.

He also added he was pleased with the fact that the budget is $7 million less than last year's city and county budget combined.

The consolidation charter calls for a 5% reduction in spending each year for four consecutive years starting in Fiscal Year 2016.

To take a look at the budget proposal and accompanying documents, click here.


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