At the Macon-Bibb County Commission Work Session on Tuesday, May 12, 2015, Mayor Robert Reichert presented to the Commission the proposed budget for Fiscal Year 2016 (July 1, 2015 – June 30, 2016). This will be the second full-year budget of the consolidated government, and it includes:
- Full implementation of the new pay scale;
- Capital Improvement program prioritized through Strategic Plan;
- Elimination of double taxation by reducing the millage rate for residents of the former city; and
- Keeps millage rate for former unincorporated county the same.
Driving this year’s budget was the creation of Macon-Bibb’s first Strategic Plan. For 14 months, the Commission, senior leadership, and department heads worked to develop the Plan, and it was used to set budget priorities in five Focus Areas:
- Economic and Community Development;
- Safe Neighborhoods and Safe Communities;
- Efficient and Effective Government;
- Infrastructure Improvement; and
- Quality of Life.
The strategic planning process was funded by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundations and facilitated by the University of Georgia Carl Vinson Institute of Government.
The proposed budget is $147,640,000, 60% of which is funding Public Safety, including the Bibb County Sheriff’s Office, Fire Department, Emergency Management Agency, Animal Welfare, and the Courts. The proposed budget is about the same as the expenditures of the combined city and county governments from fiscal year 2012, Mayor Reichert pointed out. While it will be tough year, he said, it is a level of funding which we have operated at before.
Residents in the former city limits, if this budget is approved, will see a tax reduction of 4.85 mills; for a $100,000 house, that is a savings of almost $200. This will complete one of the promises of consolidation: to have a single, countywide millage rate. The proposed budget also includes fully funding the new pay scale, which was developed with the Middle Georgia Regional Commission. Job titles and descriptions were created to match the work of the new government, and those positions will be placed on the pay scale so that people will have a salary matching their work and responsibility.
Though the consolidated charter mandates a 5% annual budget reduction, the elimination of the former city millage rate means the budget is 15% smaller than the combined city and county governments. This means Macon-Bibb County is ahead of schedule in reducing the size of government.
There will be a public hearing for the budget on Tuesday, June 9 at 6:00 p.m., and the Commission is scheduled to vote on the budget on Tuesday, June 16 during a 6:00 p.m. meeting.