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Macon-Bibb commission passes 3 mil increase; Libraries receive emergency funds

WGXA

UPDATE 9 P.M.

MACON, Ga. -- Bibb County commissioners passed a three mil increase on Thursday, but said more challenges are ahead of them.

District four commissioner Mallory Jones and district one commissioner Valerie Wynn both voted 'no' for a three mill increase on Thursday, but it still passed, adding an additional $12 million in revenue.

"You need to know what you're paying for, so I couldn't vote for it," Wynn said.

The three mil increase set Macon-Bibb County's annual revenue at $161 million - now commissioners are challenged with fitting the budget to the new rate.

"We'll work with it, but now our job is to see is how we want to subdivide that millage rate for the existing agencies," said commissioner Valerie Wynn.

About 4.3 mils would have funded the budget at status quo, so now commissioners have to make some cuts.

"The real outside agencies should expect to have a cut. I don't see any way to avoid that if you're squeezing it into a three millage rate," said commissioner Mallory Jones.

Moving forward, district three commissioner Elaine Lucas said initially, everyone will likely see a reduction.

"Starting out, everybody's going to be kind of a bare bones, kind of a lean budget," said Lucas.

Lucas said the commission needs to bring in auditing services, but said she thinks this is "going to add some layers of accountability all the way through."

Chris Howard, president of the Middle Georgia Regional Library, said they weren't sure how the library was going to be impacted.

"it's a huge relief. We didn't know what was going to happen, and that was incredibly stressful for the staff," said Howard.

Wynn said she didn't want the three mill increase, but added that she's looking ahead.

"I want Macon to go forward, that's why I ran for this office. I want us to make Macon better, improve the financial situation and get it done," Wynn said.

Lucas said commission has work to do before next year.

"I think all of us have committed that we're not going to be here next year again next year, voting to increase taxation," Lucas said.

Jones said the operations and finance committee will start narrowing things down.

"But operations and finance will come up with a recommendation of five members in that committee, and then it would be voted on Tuesday, supposedly by the whole commission," Jones said.

On Monday, August 20, that committee will meet to talk about potential changes to the budget.

UPDATE 3:15 P.M.

MACON, Ga. -- The Macon-Bibb County commission voted to adopt a millage rate of 20.652 and pass the three mil increase. It passed by a five-four vote.

Commission also voted to award Macon libraries $238,791 in emergency funding. Washington Memorial Library will re-open on Monday, Aug. 20.

Macon's libraries closed their doors on Thursday because of a lack of funding.

The Operations and Finance committee will now meet at 10 a.m. on Monday to help settle other emergency funding.

Check back here for updates.

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ORIGINAL STORY


MACON, Ga. -- The Macon-Bibb County commission is set to vote on a millage rate increase proposal of three at tonight's meeting.

The committee as a whole approved the proposal to send to commission at last Thursday's special called meeting. This followed the August 7 developments where commission voted down a 4.365 millage rate increase and later tabled the proposal vote.

RELATED: MAYOR REICHERT SAYS 3 MIL INCREASE MUST PASS; MACON-BIBB LIBRARIES MAY GET VOTED OUT

Funding is in limbo for several Macon-Bibb outside agencies - increasing the urgency for passing a millage rate proposal.

Macon's libraries were forced to shut down Thursday due to lack of funding, while the Macon Transit Authority is also facing a shutdown at the end of this month because of dwindling funds.

If commission does pass the millage rate proposal of three, the county will hold more meetings to amend the budget to the millage rate - and outside agencies would still be facing cuts in the meantime. However, the process would move forward of getting a budget approved by the state by Sept. 1. (SEE THE IN-DEPTH TIMELINE HERE).

The meeting is scheduled for 3 p.m. this afternoon. Check back here for updates and follow Claudia Coco on Twitter for the latest.


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