Departments would close if Macon-Bibb budget doesn’t pass


MACON, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) – Several Macon-Bibb County departments would shut down if the commission doesn’t pass the 2019 budget.

“We must come at the end of the year, we must come in with a positive number,” said Macon-Bibb County Mayor Robert Reichert.

The Macon-Bibb County Commission met for another budget work session Tuesday afternoon. Commissioners went back and forth on who was responsible for the county’s financial problems, but did not make any concrete decisions.

Mayor Reichert asked commissioners to consider increasing the millage rate by 3.29 mills.

“I do not think that tax burden that we’re putting on these people is excessive for the services that they get,” said Mayor Reichert.

When Commissioner Virgil Watkins asked which commissioner would vote in that increase, no one spoke up. He then brought up that he overheard some commisisoners saying they would only vote on a 2.9 millage rate increase.

“Me and commissioner Jones disagree but if you that to be a 2.9, someone has to say a line item that’s less than what it is now. You can’t just say I want 2.9 and walk out,” said Watkins.

He was referring to Commissioners Joe Allen and Bert Bivins walking out of the meeting before it ended.

If the commission doesn’t agree on a millage rate in the proposed budget before June 30th, the county would face different consequences.

“I think the mayor would probably have the authority to issue an executive order. Shutting down certain departments,” said county attorney Judd Drake.

Mayor Reichert says he hopes he does not have to make that decision.

“For heaven’s sake, pass a budget so we can start and not dissolve into litigation and controversy and confusion,” said Mayor Recheirt.

The commission will try again next Tuesday to pass a balanced budget for FY19.