The proposal to consolidate the City of Macon and Bibb County governments would mean less property taxes for some and more for others.
People who own property inside the city currently pay property taxes to both the city and county governments.
Elected officials ranging from former Mayor George Israel to current Mayor Robert Reichert call that process double taxation for city property owners.
But that would change if the General Assembly finalizes the proposed consolidation bill, Gov. Nathan Deal signs it and Bibb County voters approve it in the July 31 referendum.
Under the current setup, the city government collects 9.8 mills from property owners inside the city. A mill equals $1 for each $1,000 of taxable property value.
That means city property owners now pay about $490 in taxes for property valued at $125,000.
The Bibb County Commission also collects 12 mills from property owners throughout the entire county, including those already taxed by the city.
That means city property owners shell out an additional $600 in taxes to the county for their property valued at $125,000.
If consolidation is approved, the City of Macon and its $17.7 million in property taxes would no longer exist.
But the new consolidated government would still lean heavily on property taxes to make ends meet.
Since the consolidation charter says all city and county employees would be provided jobs in the new government, commission Chairman Sam Hart said the new government would have to cut services or raise property taxes to makeup the $17.7 million shortfall.
"If the city's millage goes away, then clearly it would have to be picked up by the new government and you're talking about about 4.5 mills or close to it," said Hart.
Hart said that would mean more property taxes for people who live outside the city. "Either the new government would have to raise taxes to cover that or they, there's no other way to do it."
But Hart also noted that since the 9.8 city millage rate would be gone, city property owners could pay the new countywide rate, which could be about 16 mills, instead of the combined 21.8 mills now levied by the city and county.
That would mean a 5.8 millage decrease, or about $265 less in property taxes for city property owners.
"You're doing away with city taxes and even if city residents see an increase in their county taxes," said Mayor Robert Reichert, "the city residents will still see a decrease, because they no longer pay city taxes."
Riechert says the goal of consolidation is a more efficient, more effective government.
He says, "I promise you under the charter that the new government is obligated to try to reduce the budget by five percent each year over four years."
Reichert says those cuts should help curb the taxes levied on residents.