Macon-Bibb commissioners look to budget for alternative summer programs

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MACON, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) — Macon-Bibb commissioners are ironing out budget details before they take a final vote in June.

Now, commissioners are trying to find funding for summer camp alternatives. This comes after the mayor announced canceling summer camps, major funding cuts, and furloughs.

Commissioners are looking for ways to keep kids engaged this summer, after camps were canceled last week due to COVID-19 concerns.

“I just think we’re adding to a petri dish situation where we’re providing an opportunity for the spread,” Commissioner Elaine Lucas said.

“Even the employees were concerned about not being around the kids,” Macon-Bibb County manager Keith Moffett said.

Commissioner Virgil Watkins is asking the commissioners to help find room in the budget for alternative summer programs, like an online reading club.

“I’ve moved well passed the summer camp with 200 people inside. I’m asking y’all to come up with something different,” Watkins said.

Otherwise, he says the cost could be more than financial.

“Our homicides are up this year,” Watkins said. “We’re already about to clip the highest rate and we know these things are connected. And to just not try scares me.”

Commissioners proposed to push the furloughs to the second half of fiscal year 2021.

Also, Mayor Robert Reichert announced that the county originally estimated a $900,000 loss in sales tax revenue for April, stemming from the shutdown. The numbers show the county lost $420,000 — less than projected.

Commissioners meet again Friday at 10 a.m. to continue budget talks.

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Tanya comes all the way from Chicago, Illinois. She’s a city girl that’s excited to be a part of Middle Georgia’s community and tell your stories! She received a degree in Broadcast Journalism from Columbia College Chicago. She also spent a few semesters studying at San Diego State University. While in college, she interviewed Joan Rivers before she passed away, was on the red carpet for the movie premiere of “Chiraq” and also interned with ABC7’s investigative reporters and Bill Kurtis. Tanya spent nearly 2 years reporting in Billings, Montana where she covered a lot of politics and agriculture. In her spare time, Tanya is a sports fanatic, so even though the Chicago Bears and Bulls didn’t know how to win this season, she still roots for them. You can guarantee you’ll run into her at the gym every day. If you do, stop by and say hi! Share your stories with her and don’t be surprised if she’s hiding chocolate chip cookies in her gym bag.