Warner Robins Council voted to approve the new millage rate Monday night.
Well, the millage rate is increasing from 9.979 to 9.983.
For reference, that means a $100,000 home would see just a 16 cent increase on their tax bill.
But, the City says even with the slight increase, they're going to have to find other ways to save money to pay their bills because the millage increase is revenue neutral.
Earlier this year, the Council voted to re-adjust the salaries of all city employees.
The new system rewards employees for the years they've been there, but it's costly. They also approved five new police officer positions.
All told, it cost $1.6 million and the cost will continue after this fiscal year, because they are tied to yearly salary expenditures.
Mayor Randy Toms says the city is looking for ways to save.
“My department directors are making suggestions, but especially human resources department, as we did tonight, the Chief Financial Officer is working hard and diligently to find ways that we can pinch pennies and make this thing work without having to do a property tax increase,” Toms said in his office after the meeting.
On Monday night they got started.
The Council began the process to change the health insurance's prescription drug provider. A city consultant says that'll save $835,000 each of the next three years. The switch is not official yet, the Council simply approved a letter of intent.
But even with the saving attempts, Councilman Clifford Holmes says he thinks the millage rate will probably have to go up at some point.
“Yes I do. Yes I do. And all I was trying to do was be proactive instead of reactive. Why wait till we get in a bind to do this? Let's go ahead and pass it now, it didn't get the support, that's okay. I put it out there on the floor for the other council to hear it and to understand why I was proposing that,” Holmes said after the meeting.
He warned that eventually the City’s financial bucket will run dry if they keep pulling from the savings account.
After this year, Warner Robins’ Chief Financial Officer estimates they will not have enough money in the savings account to fund the raises. So, Mayor and Council will have to find the money somewhere.
The millage rate taxes are due December 20th of this year.
Warner Robins Council also approved a payment plan for 432 acres of joint land purchased with Peach County.
The Development Authorities of Warner Robins and Peach County joined together to purchase the land for industrial development earlier this year.
It cost $2.4 million and the City is paying for its portion using SPLOST money. The SPLOST money will come from the land acquisition account.
Councilman Tim Thomas says buying the land was crucial to fostering industrial development in the area.
“When you have a developer that needs a large track of land, for him to come into Warner Robins and try to buy piece by piece takes too long, ties up too much of their time. We can already have a site that's shovel ready, we have utilities out there, natural gas, sewer, water,” Thomas said.
Thomas also said there was already interest in the property.
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