After nearly three months of budget wrangling among county leaders, the Macon-Bibb County Commission is finally set to vote on a proposed tax hike Tuesday.

The proposed increase of 4.36 mills came after roughly $15 million in budget amendments restored funding to areas like recreation, the bus and library systems, and for various museums.

The increase would cost an additional $187 for a $125,000 home with a homestead exemption, according to figures from Macon-Bibb County.

If the 4.36-mill increase is not approved, then commissioners will have to determine what cuts will be made.

Without any tax increase, the county will run on a $149 million budget that cuts out $10 million in funding for outside agencies like the libraries and transit authority as well as money for recreation and parks and beautification, according to Chris Floore, assistant to the county manager for public affairs.

“If a lower millage rate is approved, the commission will have to agree how to distribute available funds among: the Recreation Department, Parks & Beautification Department, and Bowden Golf Course; our fund balance (which is needed to improve our credit rating); and the outside agencies like the libraries and Macon Transit Authority,” Floore said in an email.

The Telegraph reached out to the nine commissioners to find out what their plans are for Tuesday night’s vote. Five votes are needed to set the new millage rate.

Commissioners Virgil Watkins and Elaine Lucas said they will to vote for the 4.3 mills increase while Commissioners Valerie Wynn, Larry Schlesinger and Joe Allen say they’ll vote against it.

“Heck no, I’m not voting for 4.36. Never,” Wynn said Friday. “If there is another option that comes up, I may consider it.”

Another opponent to the 4.36-mill hike is Commissioner Mallory Jones, who said he intends to introduce plans that would raise taxes by 2.7 mills.

Commissioner Al Tillman did not say how he will vote Tuesday but that he hopes a new penny-on-the dollar sales tax will reduce the millage rate in the near future. The proposed other local option sales tax, or OLOST, would have to be approved by the legislature and then put before voters in a referendum.

“I am hopeful that whatever we decide will be corrected with a future OLOST that brings in more money than a 5-mill increase,” Tillman said in an email. “It is not fair that property owners are burdened with paying more property taxes while everyone else benefits.”

Commissioner Scotty Shepherd said he’s waiting until after Tuesday’s millage rate hearing before making a decision on how he’ll vote.

“I’ve pretty well got my mind made up, but it may change when I hear some more information,” he said. “I think five of us are thinking the same, a couple are going one way and a couple going the other way. It’s going to be close.”

Commissioner Bert Bivins did not return a phone call seeking comment.

Macon-Bibb’s property tax rate went up 3 mills last year, but with issues such as unexpected increases in health care, the county’s reserve took another $4 million hit during the last fiscal year.

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