MACON, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) – Macon-Bibb Mayor Robert Reichert, vetoed a quarterly garbage billing ordinance which was passed in a committee meeting August 15th.
In March, the committee voted to have residents pay their garbage fees annually instead of quarterly. The annual fee would require residents to pay $300 at the end of this year and $240 every year after that.
In a letter to the Clerk of Commission, Mayor Reichert stated he believes charging residents an annual fee instead of quarterly would reduce postage and processing costs as well as staff hours needed to take care of this process. He also states he believes the county will see an increase in collection rates.
Mayor Reichert also mentions he understands there will be “a burden and inconvenience in the transition for some with the first year being the most difficult”. He continues by saying vetoing this ordinance will benefit the community.
Macon-Bibb resident, Gayle Breneman, says she has to figure out how she will pay everything at once.
“I’m retired on a fixed income, as most of us are that live here,” said Breneman. “And we’re just not going to be able to come up with that kind of money. Especially after having to pay your taxes.”
On August 18th, the commission voted to increase the millage rate by 3 mils. For a home valued at $100,000, property owners have to pay $99 more at the end of the year.
Commissioner Joe Allen says, he doesn’t agree with the burden the county is putting on residents. Especially because he knows Macon-Bibb has a lot of people that can’t afford this all at once.
“I know who they are, I know who I have to deal with every year. You’re going to cause a lot more heartache with other individuals. Because you can do it, doesn’t mean other people can.”
Mayor Reichert says he understands there are people that cannot pay their taxes and the $300 for garbage fees all together, so he came up with a compromise.
“I’ve said we’ll make the due date March 31st of 2018,” said Mayor Reichert. “That gives people four months to save up the money they would need to save up for the annual payment.”
If his veto is sustained, in March, residents will pay $300, which includes the final quarter fee for 2017. Then in November of 2018, residents will pay $240 for the following year.
“I really think once we get over this initial year, it’ll have an overwhelming approval rate,” said Mayor Reichert. “It’s just the transition that’s a little rough, so we’ve taken care of it.”
Mayor Reichert also says the 2018 budget has the annual fee included. If the go back to quarterly, they will have to figure out how to fund the solid waste budget. Commissioners can override the Mayor’s veto. Commissioner Allen says he plans to vote against the veto, but doesn’t think they will get the 6 votes they need. That vote will take place September 5th.