Lagging property tax collection has exacerbated the city of Macon’s problems with plummeting revenue and pushed officials to dip into the “Filomena Fund” to cover the cost of new fire trucks and patrol cars.
Named for the late Councilwoman Filomena Mullis, who championed the creation of the $6 million fund, the “Filomena Fund” helps the city survive the lean times in the summer when revenues stop but costs continue.
Finance Director Tom Barber asked City Council’s Appropriations Committee to empty the fund so the city can purchase the new vehicles. The cost of the new vehicles is about $2 million, which would be reimbursed by the Georgia Municipal Association Lease Pool. The other $4 million from the fund would have been used as normal to get the city through the summer.
Instead, the committee amended and approved the request, reducing the amount to just the $2 million needed for the vehicles and requiring the repayment to the fund by June 1.
Macon Mayor Robert Reichert said the only other option would be a tax anticipation note, but he’s trying his “dead level best” to avoid that.