2013-01-02 / Front Page

County Budget Adopted

On display for public review since November 27
By Chanin Rotz-Mountz
NEWS EDITOR

The general operating budget for Fulton County has been given a final nod of approval along with an accompanying resolution pertaining to real estate taxes for 2013.

On display since November 27 for public review, the original budget document proposed by commissioners Rodney McCray, Craig Cutchall and Irvin Dasher listed expenditures at $6,556,740 and funding sources at $6,548,658. To help increase the county’s revenue and decrease any potential shortfalls, the commissioners suggested an increase in real estate taxes of 1.2 mills.

On Tuesday, December 18, the commissioners followed through with adoption of the budget that showed total expenses for this year at $6,603,058, an increase of $54,400 from the original expenditures proposed by the county. Last Thursday, as one of their final acts of office for 2012, the commissioners adopted a resolution outlining the real-estate tax millage rate. The increase of 1.2 mills brings the millage rate on real estate from 10.95 to 12.15 mills.

The commissioners previously noted the increase in taxes was necessary to help eliminate a projected shortfall and jump-start what would have otherwise been a “flat” tax revenue. The county’s main source of income continues to be tax revenue at 70 percent of the overall funds received.

The “News” was unable to obtain a current or updated list of income and expenses for 2013 from the county. However, funding sources listed in the initial budget paperwork shows taxes at $6,556,740; $4,592,483; licenses/permits, $18,085; intergovernmental revenues,

$1,257,090; departmental charges, $340,456; fines, $154,000; operating transfers in, $95,406; and miscellaneous, $99,220.

The county’s department heads or managers were instrumental in helping the commissioners meet their budget goals for 2013. All managers were given advanced notice that their expenses for 2013 could not exceed that of the 2012 calendar year. Justification and appropriate documentation were required for any type of department funding increases.

Estimated expenditures released in a budget summary indicate expenditures are broken down into 10 categories, including general government, $1,202,862; judicial, $1,276,363; public safety, $1,190,585; human services, $1,239,092; culture/recreation, $10,000; conservation/development, $103,651; debt service, $375,011; employee benefits, $950,200; operating transfers out, $120,623; and miscellaneous, $80,271.

“The single largest expenditure cost of the county is salary and benefits, which is 55 percent of the budget,” said the county officials, who created two new positions, probation officer and administrative assistant, for 2013. “The probation officer is partially funded with a grant for the first two years. The administrative assistant would be in the expenditure category of general government. In the 2013, there is a reduction of one employee in the maintenance department as compared to 2012.”

Forecasted increases in expenses for 2013 are an additional $30,000 for employee health insurance; a $60,000 jump in funding the county’s retirement funding; and an anticipated $68,000 increase for housing prison inmates. Furthermore, debt service will rise by $47,000 as a result of a 2009 project being completed and additional borrowing this year.

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