In the past few months, Macon and the Bibb County schools raised taxes for the current budget, while Bibb County government stood firm on its tax rate.
Now Macon Mayor Robert Reichert’s next budget calls for no tax increases and even funds a higher pay scale for employees, and it’s Bibb County’s next budget that’s in deep trouble.
In a sense, it comes down to when the money gets collected and the cuts get made.
Bibb County’s current budget was counting on $14.5 million in special sales tax money that has evaporated. The current county budget was drafted last summer with plans for a tax increase that could’ve brought in just about enough money to close the $16.5 million budget hole now envisioned.
Pay now? Pay later? Macon made deep staff cuts in the current year, while Bibb County is discussing them for next year’s budget. Macon raised taxes this year, much as Bibb County is discussing for next year. It’s unclear how this will all shake out over the next month and a half, as City Council members and county commissioners offer their input.
But it’s worth noting again how bad news is spreading through the calendar: City and school tax increases in March. New tax bills in April. Nasty county budget problems in May and June. Tax bills due in June. And a special purpose local option sales tax vote in July at the same time as some fiercely contested statewide elections.
Then there’s the standoff between Macon and Bibb County about the service delivery strategy due in October, the fall’s tax bills and November’s election with guaranteed drama because of state, federal and school board races. Bibb County taxpayers may be in for a wild ride.
In the middle of it
Macon City Councilman Erick Erickson may be an attorney, but The New York Times declared “his every utterance — every Twitter message, blog post and radio rant — has been parsed with the rigor usually reserved for a Supreme Court nominee.”
Erickson, a right-wing CNN commentator and founder of Web sites including RedState and Peach Pundit, repeated his claim that his own side attacks him more than the left.
Of course, Erickson takes his own shots at both sides. Earlier this week on Peach Pundit, he said he was considering a candidate over Republican Kathy Cox for state school superintendent.
This week, Gov. Sonny Perdue appointed two local folks to state boards.
Kirk A. Walker, 44, of Lizella, was appointed as an excavator representative to the Georgia Public Service Commission Advisory Committee. He is a project manager for John R. Walker Inc.
Leonard L. Kinsley, 75, of Perry, was appointed to the State Board of Registration for Foresters. Kinsley is the owner of Fall Line Forest Management and is a board member and past president of the Houston County Farm Bureau. He also has served on committees of the state and national Farm Bureau.
Telegraph writer Mike Stucka compiled this report.