Politics & Government

Public forum set for proposed Macon-Bibb '16 budget, business improvement district

The Eisenhower Parkway corridor, pictured in April 2015.
The Eisenhower Parkway corridor, pictured in April 2015. bcabell@macon.com

Macon residents will get to learn more Tuesday night about the proposed fiscal 2016 budget as well as a proposed business improvement district along the Eisenhower Parkway corridor.

Macon-Bibb County commissioners will hold a public forum about the budget at 6 p.m., followed by a forum about the business improvement district at 6:30. Both forums are at the Macon-Bibb County Government Center, formerly known as City Hall.

Commissioners are still trying to hash out the details of the proposed budget. Macon-Bibb officials currently are proposing a $147.6 million budget that would include putting into place a pay scale for Macon-Bibb employees, equalizing the millage rate between residents of the former city and the former unincorporated county, and reducing the annual budget by at least 5 percent, as mandated in the consolidation charter.

Officials have been forced to assume projected savings based on a retirement package offered to more than 400 eligible employees. The proposed budget currently assumes 93 employees from non-public safety positions will take the retirement, though administration officials are hoping for more.

Separately, the business improvement district would be the first of its kind in Macon-Bibb. It would require businesses within the district to pay slightly higher property taxes. That money, once collected, would be turned over to a nonprofit agency that would use it to make infrastructure improvements beginning at the Interstate 475 interchange and extending eastward toward Macon Mall.

Commissioner Al Tillman, who sponsored the tax ordinance, said public safety and beautifying the area would be the first priorities if it’s approved. The measure required property owners representing more than 51 percent total property value in the corridor to sign a petition to set up the district.

The district would be in place for six years with an option for renewal. An approved ordinance would have to be turned into the Bibb County Tax Commissioner’s Office by June 30.

To contact writer Phillip Ramati, call 744-4334.