Residents angered over budget cuts to MTA, libraries and parks&rec
MACON, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) – The fate of the county is still very uncertain after cuts to several major outside agencies, leaving many in the community up in arms.
Residents in Macon have a lot of questions.
“First of all you all need to explain to us what happened, where the money went, who spent it…how?” said resident Pamela Scott.
They also have some serious concerns after county commissioners opted to cut funding to all outside agencies including parks & recreation, public libraries & the transit authority.
“I have family that is directly affected and at this point I’m probably going to have to take some people to work next week,” said another resident.
They met with community leaders Danny Glover and Commissioner Virgil Watkins on Saturday at a town hall at Memorial Rec Center to get some answers.
“I think y’all wanted me to lie to you. You wanted me to provide you with the same level of service for less money because…we thought we could,” Commissioner Virgil Watkins pleaded with residents.
Pamela Scott is one of the residents who attended. She says she’s frustrated by the idea of raising property taxes.
“I’m 55. You know what my goal is? To retire and be comfortable–not struggle, because I have not worked almost 40 years, since I was 15, to struggle as a senior citizen in a city that I was raised in,” she said.
At the same time, she and others say not having these services, will not only cause property values drop, but crime to go up.
“It just saves a lot of these young men’s lives going to the rec centers, playing ball,” said another resident.
Watkins says none of the commissioners wanted to see this happen, but their choices and the time to make them are limited.
He says he plans to propose amendments to re-add services to the budget at their next meeting scheduled Tuesday.
If none pass, they’ll have to begin shutting entities down.
If they do vote to raise property taxes and re-add services, there are ways residents on a fixed income can apply for homestead tax exemptions as opposed to paying taxes they’re unable to afford.
For all other residents, the property tax rate should be no more than a 2-3% increase if they vote to amend. If you see an increase more than that, you can dispute it with the Tax Assessor’s Office.