Reichert thinks new Macon-Bibb consolidated budget will be biggest challenge after 100 days

MACON, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) – Macon-Bibb County Mayor Robert Reichert says preparing a new budget for the consolidated government will be the biggest challenge he’ll face in the upcoming weeks. 

He sat down with 41NBC to reflect on the first 100 days in the new Macon-Bibb County consolidated government. 

“I sense more optimism and enthusiasm in this community about the future than I have seen or felt in decades,” Reichert said. 
Mayor Reichert believes the good vibes in Macon-Bibb will keep that enthusiasm going. 
He credits members of the government’s transition task force for making the consolidated move appear seamless. 
“We have created the appearance of a seamless transition. People haven’t noticed a hiccup,” he said. 
It’s a transition that took 18 months, including creating a health insurance plan and payroll for both county and city employees.
Even with all of the high praise, Reichert realizes the first ever consolidated government budget will have its fair share of challenges appropriating funds to new areas. 
“Once we get the budget, presented and adopted by the commission, you can take the training wheels off, we’re pedaling on our own,” he added. 
Reichert also acknowledged the difficulty in naming department heads. 
“We had an open application. So we didn’t limit the search for department head just to those people with the city and or the county. Instead, we opened it up and we had a number of applications that came in from outside of the city and county,” Reichert said. 
On a different note, Reichert says the possibility of Ocmulgee National Monument turning into a national park will be a big draw for the city. 
“Wouldn’t it be unbelievable to have the first and only national park in Georgia located inside of city limits of Macon,” he said. 
He believes the outlook for Macon-Bibb is a bright one. 
His vision of a hub city, with different housing options, and what he calls a vibrant urban core are in his sights for the near future. 

Drafts of that first budget for 2015 are expected to go in front of the Macon-Bibb County commission during their work session on May 13th. 

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