Bibb County financial advisor warns of projected $4M deficit

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Tuesday, Bibb County's Financial Advisor Matthew Arrington warned commissioners of a projected $4 million deficit in the Fiscal Year 2018 budget.

Bibb County is only a quarter of the way through the 2018 fiscal year, but Julie Moore, the Co-Interim County Manager, says they have already found a couple of areas where the county is spending more than they budgeted for. The two main areas are health care and pension plans.

Moore told commissioners they made an accounting error that left county pension plans about $2.2 million short.

She says that is a large part of why their financial advisor is projecting a $4 million deficit.

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Mayor Robert Reichert says one way they are trying to fix that is paying off $2.8 million of county debt with SPLOST funds rather than from the general budget.

“That frees up some money to plug into some other line items in the general budget,” says Reichert. He says commissioners are still going to have to look at other ways to lower spending.

Reichert says that could mean changes like requiring employees contributing to their pension plans which they currently do not do.

Reichert also said they could be looking at a temporary hiring freeze. Commissioner Elaine Lucas says that could hurt citizens.

“I just am nervous about the fact that we're hitting the delivery of service as the way of handling this problem,” says Lucas.

Reichert says they also are still looking at saving money by making changes in employee health care plans.

The full commission still has to approve moving the $2.8 million. That will be at their next meeting in two weeks.