Warner Robins City Council crunched for time on 2018 budget, discuss how they’ll pay $1.6 million in employee raises

WARNER ROBINS, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) – Warner Robins has found itself in a bit of a budget bind.

The 2018 budget was supposed to be approved on Monday night but, factoring in a $1.6 million raise to city employees like fireman and police put the council’s plans on pause.

“We’ve got to have a budget come July 1. That’s the issue,” said Councilman Clifford Holmes, Jr.

As the first of July creeps closer, council members are considering increasing property taxes to pay for a long awaited raise to city employees.

“In order for us to continue providing the high quality service at the high quality that we do we have to pay for those,” said Mayor Randy Toms.

The millage rate, which determines resident property taxes in Warner Robins, hasn’t been raised in years. It sits at 9.9 compared to Macon at 14.

“We have the lowest Millage rate in the middle Georgia area yet we have grown from 17.1 square miles to 37 square miles so the responsibility of our public safety department has increased,” Holmes said.

Mayor Toms says an increase in the millage rate by 1% wouldn’t drastically change the amount paid on property taxes.

“On a $100,000 home one mill increase would mean $40 to $50 a year. Most people are very agreeable to that, if it gives them the police and fire protection that we so desperately need,” he continued.

Councilman Holmes says it would begin to solve a long standing issue of taking from the city’s other reserves.

“We can continue this year to take money from the other systems: the enterprise, the reserve fund but we cannot continue. I think last year we were at $7,$8, $9 million dollars, now we’re down to $5 million.”

The council’s number one priority is safety for Warner Robins residents, there’s no cost too steep when it comes to ensuring that.

The budget has to be approved unanimously. They not only need to decide quickly on it, but they’ve also got to decide whether increasing the millage rate is the final answer. The city has to give residents at least 60 days notice of an increase.

The new budget year begins July 1st, but the next city council meeting isn’t until July 5th. The council members expect a call meeting to be scheduled before then to come up with a final solution.

Categories: Houston County, Local News

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *