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MACON, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT)- Macon-Bibb County Mayor Robert Reichert recommended budget cuts and furloughs during his Fiscal Year 2021 budget presentation, which he called his “most difficult”.
Reichert said that the full impact of COVID-19 remains unknown, but he expects revenue from sales taxes, hotel-motel taxes, property taxes, and fees and fines to all be significantly lower because of COVID-19’s overall impact on the economy.
His proposal recommends a balanced budget with a 10% reduction compared to the FY2020 budget. He estimates, because of reduced revenue, the budget will need to partly be funded by money from the Macon-Bibb County reserve fund.
Reichert’s presentation called for eliminating all vacant positions (not including public safety), furloughing recreation employees for June through August for four days each week, canceling summer camps at recreation departments, and furloughing county civilian employees who aren’t affiliated with emergency services or public safety by a few hours each week for a year.
Mayor Reichert told commissioners, “No one likes the idea of cutting employees, but we may have no other choice”.
He estimates eliminating the vacant positions will save $3.1 million, cuts to the recreation department will save $660k, and the reduction in hours for the civilian employees will save $2.8 million.
The mayor also called for no millage rate increase and no discretionary travel.
He told commissioners that funding public safety and not continuing current spending levels, which would endanger the reserve fund balance, were among his top priorities.
Commissioners will consider and discuss the mayor’s budget proposal over the next few weeks.
A virtual Public Hearing will be held on Tuesday, June 2 at 6 p.m., and the budget is scheduled to be voted upon during a Special Called Meeting of the Commission on Tuesday, June 9 at 1 p.m. Both of those will be broadcast live on the Macon-Bibb website at www.maconbibb.us or on Facebook.