Macon-Bibb Mayor reccommends property tax increase to balance budget
MACON, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) – Macon-Bibb Mayor Robert Reichert presented a balanced budget for fiscal year 2019 Tuesday afternoon.
The county is projecting a $10 million deficit if the county does not make major adjustments to the budget.
The commission has talked about raising revenue, making adjustments to healthcare and pension plans, as well as cutting department spending.
“This I think is our most difficult year to date,” said Mayor Reichert. “We have revenue sources and we have expenditures and it is up to us to as a commission to get those two to match.”
The proposed $164 million budget has includes cuts about a million dollar cut to outside agencies, a 3.7 millage rate increase, operating expense reductions, and cutting 3 days of paid holidays for county employees.
“This year we are asking for an additional millage rate that will bring it up to a total of 21.352 mills total,” said Mayor Reichert.
Reichert says although it’s an increase, it’s still less than what city taxpayers were paying in 2014.
“Even though it’s a little less than what it was in when you balance it out, it’s still something that’s important to think about,” said Macon-Bibb resident, Donald Druitt. He is hoping commissioners will fight to prevent an increase in property taxes.
“I would really like to see another proactive way of gaining our revenue in this county. The mayor’s right,” said Druitt. “There’s a lot of great things happening in this county. We’re making great progress. We’ve just really got to look at how we’re moving our revenue and our expenditures.”
Since consolidation in 2014, the county hasn’t been able to match up its revenue and expendiures.
“Consolidation was a major step forward for our community and will ultimately be one of the best decisions we’ve ever made,” said Reichert.
Reichert says it takes time, but the county is making progress. For now, they’ll have to get through passing another budget.
“We must have a balanced budget in place by June 30th,” said Reichert. “That is our paramount duty and charge.”
In Mayor Reichert’s proposal, some outside agencies, including local museums and non-profit organizations, received a 10 or 20 percent cut.
He completely cut Navicent Health from receiving any funding in 2019. The hospital received $450,000 from the county last year.
Mayor Reichert says the county is expected to have $4 million left in the general fund by the end of FY 2018. He says that’s not enough for the county to work with, especially if another natural disaster happens. Tropical Storm Irma cost the county $2 million.