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New county budget proposed

County commissioners were presented with the proposed fiscal year 2012-13 budget at the April 24 meeting. The proposed budget is $8.54 million, a $41,234 reduction from the first draft and around $200,000 less than last year’s budget. County manager Bill Sawyer said the proposal is a workable budget which held the line on taxes and projects no millage rate increase, yet will provide necessary services. He urged commissioners to digest the information and prepare questions for the May 9 hearing. Several departments saw reductions in their annual budget, including the Department of Family and Children Services which will receive no money from the county this year but will operate from savings and state funding. Other areas where cuts were made from last year’s budget include planning and development, with a reduction of $42,000, inmate care with a savings of almost $44,000 and the commissioners office with a reduction of $62,267. The process of crafting the county’s budget started early this year when meetings with department heads and constitutional officers started in January. Several more steps must take place before the budget is submitted to the state, including a public hearing May 9 at 1 p.m. for citizens to offer input. The first and second reading of FY2012/13 budget will be held May 23 at 1 p.m. and May 30 at 6 p.m. The final adoption of the budget and third reading will be held by the commissioners June 13 at 5 p.m. The county must then publish Pike’s five-year tax history. If the millage rate is to increase, a meeting must be held for that and a special called meeting also must be held to set the tax levy. That meeting is tentatively set for July 11 at 5:30 p.m. The official budget must be delivered to the tax commissioner and submitted to the Georgia Department of Revenue by Aug. 1. Last year’s budget was reduced more than 10.3% from the previous year’s budget with more than $900,000 in cuts for a total budget of $8.74 million. The county also: ’¢ Held a public hearing and approved a special exception in an agricultural-residential zoned district for a petting farm as a special events business for property owner Wanda Hadley. A business license is required, signs must conform to the sign code the petting farm meets state requirements and operates during daylight hours only, no earlier than 10 a.m. and no later than 7 p.m. ’¢ Held a public hearing and approved a special exception in an A-R district to continue use of two campers for recreational use for Felker W. Ward Jr. ’¢ Held a public hearing and approved a special exception in a commercial-2 district for a human cremation system for Moody Funeral Home. ’¢Â Held public hearing for and approved continuation of chapter 156 of the zoning code concerning sliding pay scales for certain invalid building permits for new dwellings per stipulations imposed by commissioners on April 14, 2010. ’¢ Approved a request from planning and development to add an electrical inspection fee to its fee schedule for powerless buildings. ’¢ Approved extension of application time to garner more applicants for a four-year term to the board of assessors set to expire April 14, 2016. ’¢ Held public hearing and approved first reading of amendments to chapter 156 of the zoning code regarding sensitive land in the Watershed Protection Ordinance. ’¢ Postponed first reading of newly revised chapter 36, personnel policies and procedures in the code of ordinances until a workshop and in-depth discussion can be held.

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