Public voices concerns about property tax increases

Commissioners will vote on the millage rate increase next Tuesday.

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MACON, Georgia (41NBC/ WMGT) – Community members can weigh-in on the proposed property tax increase. Macon Bibb County Commissioners are having three public hearings before they vote next Tuesday.

In order to continue funding outside agencies, county commissions say they need to raise property taxes.

Next Tuesday they will vote on a 4.3 millage rate increase. Bringing the total millage rate to almost 22.

“Kids in this community learn at the library. The adults in this community learn at the library through the computer programs. I don’t want to spend anymore of my money than I have to, but I believe it takes a village to raise a child and I am my Brother’s Keeper,” Melanie Duncan, who attended the hearing, said.

Many attended the first of three public hearings to express their concerns.

“I know there are money issues going on in Macon, but why should we have to suffer? Why should libraries have to suffer? Why should transit have to suffer? Why should our children have to suffer without a library,” Jasmin Watkins, who also attended the hearing, said.

Some community members say commissioners need to take another look at the budget.
because raising property taxes isn’t the answer.

“Every time you stop on Riverside and a couple of other places, while I’m on the bus, you know how many people run stop signs and that bus cameras, if we had them, can capture every day to find funds? There are other ways to find funds without taking it from the community because we’re hurting,” a man who spoke at the public hearing said.

Commissioner Joe Allen says he voted “no” to the increase and will do so again next Tuesday.

“They raised it 3 millages last year. I was always told at the old county commission you never come back the following year and raise it more than the year before,” Allen said.

Commissioner Elaine Lucas encourages community members to continue suggesting funding alternatives. Part two, to this plan she says will be to eventually roll back taxes.

“Don’t just get mad now and don’t come back, but to follow what we do and the new procedures we put in place. Our plan is to get a firm control of our finances and to make sure we don’t make unwise decisions going forward,” Lucas said.

Public hearings were held Tuesday June 31st at 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. There’s another next Tuesday at 4 p.m. Public hearings are at the Government Center, at 700 Poplar Street.

Commissioners will vote on the property tax increase next Tuesday, too.

Lucas says they are having an auditor examine contracts and procedures. She says it’s to make sure they aren’t missing or over spending money.