A Bibb County audit shows a $12 million deficit over the course of Fiscal Year 2017. This comes just after an $8 million deficit the year before.
Miller Edwards from the auditing firm Mauldin and Jenkins says $7.5 million is enough to run county operations for three weeks. They typically recommend that counties keep 30-90 days' worth of funds in their reserves.
Edwards says the county is not bringing in as much revenue as they budgeted for.
“As an outsider looking in, I would just say you need to look at your budget process and were our goals and objectives and our budgeted revenues appropriate,” says Edwards.
On top of revenue loss, Edwards says the county is spending more on health care and starting to deplete their pension funds. He says one of the main areas seeing a big change is the other post-employment benefits.
“This thing has a way of going from $137 million, to $147, to $162. We've got to stop the bleeding at some point and figure out how to do that,” says Edwards.
Mayor Robert Reichert says between rising health care costs across the country and the county still adjusting from consolidation, they knew a deficit around this size would happen.
“This is exactly what we told people was coming. Why we requested the millage rate increase that was passed by the commission this last summer,” says Reichert.
Reichert says this is also why they have been discussing adding another local option sales tax.