November’s sales-tax referendum is the best way to pay for critical infrastructure in Bibb County, Macon Mayor Robert Reichert and Bibb County Commission Chairman Sam Hart said in a news conference Monday.
If it passes, the $190 million special purpose local option sales tax would pump money into recreation, public safety, road repairs and other upgrades, as well as pay off city and county debt. The referendum is Nov. 8.
Reichert said the governments have been tightening their belts, but needs can’t be put off.
“These are not frivolous needs. These are not wishes and wants,” Reichert said at the news conference in City Council chambers. “These are necessary items for our communities.”
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Without sales-tax money, officials could eye property taxes to pay for many of the items, Reichert said.
Hart said the SPLOST itself would directly stimulate the local economy, while indirectly helping get or secure other jobs. Hart championed a $6 million plan to buy Bibb County properties near Robins Air Force Base that are in noisy areas. That threat, called encroachment, could harm the base during any future Base Realignment And Closure process.
“We don’t know when a BRAC will come, but we know one will come,” Hart said.
For more on this story, read Tuesday’s Telegraph or return to macon.com.