Downtown Macon property owners could see a property tax increase in the next year.

Tuesday, Bibb commissioners could vote on an ordinance that would create a downtown business improvement district, but that would increase the millage rate in the downtown area by 5 mills. That means people who own property downtown would have to pay $5 more in property taxes for every $1,000 of property value.

Walking through downtown Macon, you may notice empty buildings where there used to be businesses.

“They refer to them sometimes as 'missing teeth,'” says Thompson.

But in the last year, David Thompson, one of the founders of Piedmont Construction Group, says the demand for those spaces has spiked.

“And we don’t see that slowing down. This is a way to supplement city services and go a step beyond and make it an entertainment district,” says Thompson.

Thompson says he is one of several downtown property owners asking the county to approve a downtown 5-mill property tax increase to generate funds to help make the area safer and cleaner.

“If you don’t feel safe, you’re not coming back,” says Thompson.

He says downtown business owners would make up a board of directors that would decide how to use the funds for changes such as adding patrol staff.

“We have a bit of a problem with some aggressive panhandling. They’re there to help kind of remind those individuals this is not allowed,” says Thompson.

However, Thompson says this tax increase could force landlords to raise their rents.

Anissa Jones says that could hurt her downtown businesses.

“Four different landlords will be asking me for higher rent,” says Thompson.

Jones says she wants to see improvements downtown, but she says she would prefer a smaller increase.

“More manageable for someone to have that increase in their rent than to have it all one lump sum all at one time,” says Jones.

If it passes out of committee Tuesday, it would still need approval from the full commission next week.