Macon Mayor Robert Reichert says the county should break even as far as spending and revenue is concerned for 2017. However, the county pulled $8 million out of the general fund in 2016 and $6 million the year before that.
Reichert says they have cut spending as much as they can, and to balance the budget they need to bring more money in, but he says the county cannot keep pulling from the general fund.
To generate this revenue, Reichert's proposed a 3 mill increase on property taxes. Reichert says one reason revenue is down is that until 2015 people who lived inside Macon city limits were still paying two sets of taxes. That went away through consolidation.
Reichert says they thought they would make up the difference through additional over the past 3 years, but they did not.
“We think that a 3 mill property tax increase will close the funding gap and put us on solid ground, so that everybody knows we're financially prudent and that we're continuing to build the community of tomorrow,” says Reichert.
Reichert says that money will help pay off the deficit and pay for services they promise the community like hiring additional sheriff's deputies.
Commissioner Al Tillman says he wants to pay for those services, but he is not sure if raising property taxes is the only way to do that.
“We've got to do more to encourage our tax base by increasing businesses and increasing and encouraging people to move back to Macon-Bibb County. I think there’s some other issues with our business license and things that we can be much prudent on,” says Tillman.
Reichert says if the budget is approved people will pay an additional $99 for every $100,000 of a home’s worth. They would see that tax increase when new tax bills arrive in August.
Reichert says they will hold three public hearings to explain the budget and hear from the public.
To see a presentation on the budget, click this link.