A Macon-Bibb County audit showed an $8 million shortfall for fiscal 2016.
The general fund deficit was due in part to less revenue in three areas: sales tax, licensing and permits, and fines and forfeitures. In total, those revenues were down about $5.3 million from the amounts budgeted, said Miller Edwards, with the accounting firm Mauldin & Jenkins. Property tax revenue from the previous year declined by about $7.7 million.
“The main reason for the overall decline in the general fund’s balance was the elimination of the remaining prior city tax digest,” the report said.
The shortfall led to Macon-Bibb’s general fund reserves dropping from $28 million to about $20 million on June 30, 2016.
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The audit found no significant problems with the county’s finances, though.
“No findings? Jeepers — that is a real kudos,” Mayor Robert Reichert said. “So to the planning and budgeting department I want to say thank you for getting us as close as we are. But as Miller pointed out, we lost money this year and we cannot continue to do that. We have been shooting at a moving target these three years trying to figure out what our revenues are going to be, what our expenses would be.”
Since the consolidation of Macon and Bibb in 2014, the county’s general fund budget is about $22 million lower than that of the combined governments. Macon-Bibb officials were required by the consolidated charter to reduce the budget by 20 percent, a goal that they reached before the five year mandate.
The latest audit did reveal that the county’s pension plans were being strongly supported.
“You’re probably on the higher tier of being more well-funded,” Edwards said.