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County approves first draft of budget

Commissioners approved the first reading of the Fiscal Year 2021-22 budget and heard that the county anticipates revenue increases during their May 4 meeting. The second reading will be May 20 at 6:30 p.m. and the final adoption of the budget will be May 25 at 5:30 p.m. Both meetings will be in the main courtroom of the courthouse. County manager Brandon Rogers told commissioners the county’s auditors report that available funds may be able to be used to offset expenditures. During the first reading, some of the changes made were combining Department 77, Economic Development, with Department 13, Board of Commissioners. A fire truck was removed from the budget. One of the additional vehicles was removed from Public Works. A $6,000 item was removed from Department 13, Board of Commissioners, for the county manager vehicle. The budget does include the requested amounts for the salaries and a 5% retirement has been included in the budget. Commissioner Tim Daniel asked if the additional revenue is $200,000. Rogers replied it may be more than $200,000, closer to $400,000 and as soon as he finds out what the exact number will be, he will let the board know. Rogers said he is anticipating some revenue increases. The number that determines what will impact the citizens is the general property taxes. Last year it was budgeted at $6,746,359 and this year it is budgeted at $7,151,682, not including the offset mentioned of around $350,000 to $400,000. Once the offset is included, it will almost balance to what it was budgeted for last year. Rogers said if taxes go up any, it should be the very minimum. He said if the board wants no tax increase, the 5% retirement would be the easiest place to take it from, by reducing it to 4% or whatever is needed. The 5% retirement that was figured in the budget was only for the employees who participate in the retirement plan now. Commissioner James Jenkins noted if the retirement must be changed this year, then maybe next year it can be increased a little and so on to get it to where it needs to be. If more employees elect to participate in the retirement, that will have to be figured in the budget commissioner Daniel asked if the figures in the budget were based on Cigna insurance. CM Rogers replied yes, the county is waiting on two more insurance companies to submit their quote but as of now Cigna has no increase. Commissioner Jenkins asked if the recreation department budget has been changed. Rogers said the recreation department has not been changed. County Manager Rogers said the sheriff’s office made a change that will take place the next pay period. Rogers feels that the FY 2021-2022 budget will be extremely close to a zero increase this year. Commissioner Proctor asked what the final budget number is in the proposed budget. CM Rogers stated LMIG is included in the budget this year which makes the budget look like a big increase. Last year the budget did not include LMIG, Jail Fund, etc. and it was $12,269,000. This year the LMIG and jail fund is included in the budget and is $14,000,000. Commissioner Daniel said in the proposed budget the general fund recommended was $12,619,592 and he would like to know what the number is currently. County Manager Rogers said the general fund is about $400,000 more than the proposed budget.

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