Bibb County has less than 20 days to approve next year’s budget.
Right now, that budget includes a 3.29 millage rate increase, but when Commissioner Virgil Watkins took a poll at Tuesday’s meeting of who would support that, no one raised their hands. It made it clear that the proposed budget will not go through.
Several commissioners say that number is too high and others do not want to make any more cuts, but the budget needs at least six votes. If it does not get six votes, Bibb County Attorney Judd Drake says it could have a big impact on the community.
“I think the mayor would probably have the authority to issue an executive order, that means shutting down certain departments to keep the government running. We have to have public safety,” says Drake.
Mayor Robert Reichert says it could also mean legal consequences.
“I can almost guarantee you would get sued on the 1st of July or soon thereafter as the suit would be filed,” says Reichert.
He says companies that do business with the county could potentially sue them because they would not have a budget in place.
“It’s uncharted water is what it is. You’re sailing into uncharted water, and there’s just no way to tell what would happen if you didn’t have a budget in place by July the 1st,” says Reichert.
Reichert says he is going to go back in and make changes to see if he can make a budget they can agree on.
The commission is scheduled to vote on the budget next Tuesday at the Macon-Bibb Government Center.