MACON, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) – Macon-Bibb County is considering increasing property taxes again. This time, you could see a 5 millage increase.
With the budget for fiscal year 2019 needing to be presented in the next couple of months, commissioners need to figure out how to make up a projected $10 million deficit.
The increase in health care and pension plans is partly to blame for the shortfall. A financial advisor suggested one option on how to balance the budget, that includes increasing property taxes by 5 mills.
This would take the millage rate for property owners from 17 to 22 mills. Even then, the county would have to make some adjustments to other areas in the budget.
“You really can’t cut public safety, and you really can’t cut sanitation,” said Mayor Robert Reichert. “You’ve got to pick up the garbage and you got to keep that going. The question is whether to privatize it, how to make it more efficient. All of that is going to be on the table.”
Mayor Reichert has to present a proposed balanced budget to the commission by mid-May in order to vote on it by June.
“I’m not trying to be a fearmonger or a scaremonger. This is just something that we need to have an adult conversation about. What’s fair? What’s equitable? And how are we going to achieve a balanced budget,” said Reichert.
Another problem the commission is facing is there are only 8 commissioners with Gary Bechtel being gone, and they need 6 votes to pass the budget.
The commission will look at other ways to make adjustments to the budget, such as a hiring freeze, cuts to departments and health care and pension plans.