Macon-Bibb officials take first step towards implementing sales tax increase

Bibb Co. could implement a new sales tax

Macon officials took the first step Tuesday toward implementing another one cent sales tax.

The five-member Operations and Finance Committee voted unanimously to ask a legal group to examine the possibility of the Macon-Bibb government moving to implement another permanent one-cent sales tax.

The proposed tax is called OLOST, and like a SPLOST it would take a penny from every one dollar of sales in the county. 

Commissioner Gary Bechtel introduced the resolution. He says the move could help attract more people to move to Macon.

Bechtel says this would allow the county to roll back the millage rate based on the money they collect from the sales tax.

“Let's say for example a mill in Bibb County is worth $4 million, you raise $28 million on that penny. You then roll back your property taxes seven mills,” said Bechtel.

Bechtel says the OLOST could roll back property taxes as much as seven mills, but that will not happen until about two years after it gets approved.

He says the tax would be a variation of one started by Columbus-Muscogee county in the 1980's.

First, it needs approval from Georgia's general assembly, and then Bibb County voters would have to say yes.

“Possibly piggybacking on that general legislation, making the adjustments, and pushing it through the legislator, so we could get this on the ballot by 2018,” said Bechtel.

Bechtel says by sending it to an outside legal group, they can learn more about the advantages and disadvantages of the sales tax to determine if it would work for the county.

The county attorney says to get the top lawyer from this firm is about $648 an hour.

It'll go before the full nine-member commission for consideration next week.

The proposed tax is called OLOST and state law allows consolidated governments to implement the tax if voters approve.

Officials estimate the additional tax would generate $30 million a year that would go into the general fund for allocation. The sales tax in Bibb County is currently seven cents. 

© 2017 WMAZ-TV


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