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Macon-Bibb mayor ‘adamant’ new budget won’t increase property taxes

Suggestions, pleas and frustrations expressed at Macon-Bibb public hearing

Roughly 70 people attended the second of three public hearings at the Macon-Bibb Government Center Tuesday evening to discuss the fiscal year 2019 budget. Several citizens spoke opposing the proposed millage rate increase.
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Roughly 70 people attended the second of three public hearings at the Macon-Bibb Government Center Tuesday evening to discuss the fiscal year 2019 budget. Several citizens spoke opposing the proposed millage rate increase.

Macon-Bibb County Mayor Robert Reichert plans to present a budget to commissioners in May that does not include a property tax increase, according to Chris Floore, the assistant to the county manager for public affairs.

Floore said the mayor remains “adamant” that there will not be a millage increase in 2019.

This comes after the tax rate increased the previous two years as county officials dealt with financial challenges that swallowed up a large chunk of the county’s reserve fund since consolidation.

A problem in recent years was an over projection of revenues, primarily with sales and property taxes.

However, Macon-Bibb’s financial situation this budget cycle has improved enough that there may be some money left over at the end of the fiscal year on June 30.

One factor has been a reduction in health care costs after changes were made to the employee plans.

“We’ve been trying to reduce expenses to put some of that money back into the unreserved fund balance,” Floore said.

The County Commission may have a series of budget discussions before voting on the general fund budget and millage rate.

Last year, commissioners spent weeks debating pension contributions, funding for external agencies, property taxes and more before the current $164 million budget was approved.

One of the biggest debates in 2018 centered around the amount of funding for 21 external agencies, such as Navicent Health, the library and transit systems, several museums and Meals on Wheels.

The current millage rate for county government is 20.652 mill.

The Macon-Bibb County Commission passed a 20.652-mill property tax rate for fiscal 2019, which is a 3-mill hike over last year. Here's how each commissioner voted Thursday, Aug. 16, 2018.

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