Sales tax collections across Macon-Bibb County will fall about $12 million short of initial projections.
Special purpose sales tax collections that voters approved in 2012 were projected to raise $190 million over six years. When the collection window ends on Saturday, the extra penny of tax on the dollar will have generated about $178 million, said Julie Moore, assistant to the county manager for Budget & Strategic Planning.
SPLOST dollars are used to fund various capitol improvement projects, such as recreation centers, park upgrades and road improvements.
City and county leaders purposely set the SPLOST cap higher than the projected revenue over that time period. That was in case the tax generated more money than expected, she said. Instead, the sales tax revenue has come in much lower than what elected officials envisioned.
In the fall of 2016, Mayor Robert Reichert informed commissioners they would have to make some “tough decisions” with projections trending about $10 million short at that time.
Two areas scaled back because of the shortfall were road projects and storm drain repairs. Commissioners, however, did add some extra money for them as part of the current $280 million SPLOST.
Collections on that tax start rolling in on Sunday. It does not have a sunset date, meaning that Macon-Bibb can collect the money until it draws the full amount.
The County Commission also had sought to have voters decide on a new sales tax that would lead to 50 percent of that revenue going to a millage rate rollback and the remainder used for county operations. But that seems unlikely this year, with members of the county's legislative delegation at odds on how the revenue should be used. The General Assembly is scheduled to wind up this Thursday.