At a Committee of the Whole Meeting on Thursday, June 19, 2014, the Macon-Bibb County Commission made changes and approved a budget for Fiscal Year 2015 (July 1, 2014 – June 30, 2015). This budget is scheduled for a final vote by the Commission on June 30, 2014, during a 5:00 p.m. meeting in the Government Center Commission Chambers at 700 Poplar Street. This will be the first full budget of the new, consolidated Macon-Bibb County.
The Fiscal Year general fund budget is estimated to be $158,700,600, a reduction from the combined budgets of the former city and county. The Mayor recommended to the Commission that the millage rate be set at 19.502 for former City of Macon residents and 14.652 for former residents of unincorporated Bibb County. City property tax is recommended to be reduced by half, but the tax paid for fire protection was added for a net reduction of 2.201 mils, or approximately $80 on a $100,000 home. In FY2016, the city tax will be completely removed, providing Macon-Bibb the opportunity to perform a thorough review of service delivery. The millage rate for homes in unincorporated Bibb County will remain the same.
“This is a pivotal moment, as we work to become a more efficient government and strive to bring people together to move our community forward,” says Mayor Reichert. “We are lowering taxes for the former city area and keeping it the same for the county; in the second year of Macon-Bibb County, the former city millage rate will be completely removed.”
The budget was developed with the service needs of Macon-Bibb County in mind and the amount of revenue generated by property tax, sales tax, franchise fees, and other revenue streams. From the general fund budget almost 60% of the total is dedicated to Public Safety (Sheriff’s Office, Fire Department, EMA, Courts, Animal Welfare, Coroner), and 80% of the total is spent on personnel.
During the presentation in May, the Mayor highlighted some of the work that was accomplished in the City, in Bibb County, and in Macon-Bibb in fiscal year 2014, even as the governments were facing challenges due to consolidation. This included:
· a smooth transition to the new government with no service interruption;
· being selected for the White House’s Strong Cities, Strong Communities program;
· selecting department heads and beginning to move personnel and offices;
· completing of or beginning projects funded by the Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax;
· expansion of the 5×5 program;
· increasing passenger service at the Middle Georgia Regional Airport;
· being featured by C-SPAN;
· and more.