The Butts County Board of Commissioners adopted its Fiscal Year 2016 budget at a series of called meetings held on July 2nd, 2015. In addition to an $18.8 million annual operating budget, the County also passed a number of other required fund budgets which included SPLOST revenue budgets, E-911 fund, jail fund, construction funds and others, bringing the entire annual spending plan to $21,378,154.00.
The county property tax rate remained relatively flat. One notable exception was that a single mil of tax was taken away from the county government budget and allocated to the Butts County Hospital Authority to pay indigent healthcare costs and upkeep on Sylvan Grove Hospital, which is owned by the Authority.
In the previous fiscal year, the County millage rate had been 14.281 mils of tax; this year, it will broken down to 13.281 mils for the County and 1.00 mil for the hospital, equalling last year’s rate.
“I have wanted to establish a dedicated mil of tax for the hospital for some time” said County Administrator Michael Brewer, who pitched the idea to the Board of Commissioners at a budget workshop earlier this year. “Funding the Hospital Authority between $540k-$600k each year directly from our budget was a workable solution but it had the effect of making our county operating budget appear to be larger than it truly was. Giving them a dedicated funding stream helps our budget reflect true operating costs, protects the Authority from fluctuations in our own budget and provides them with a greater level of stability toward future hospital funding. I am very appreciative that our commissioners fully supported this recommendation” he said.
The new budget includes provisions to fund the recommendations of the University of Georgia’s recent wage and salary study that was requested by the Board last year. The study took into account those departments who worked directly for the Board of Commissioners and those departments who work under boards appointed by the commissioners. Butts County Commission Chairman Roger D. McDaniel told the Jackson Progress Argus on Thursday that “the study found that while some workers were compensated at roughly the market rate, some others were not being paid a competitive wage”.
Another key component of the overall budget package that was passed on Thursday night included the funding of a Capital Improvement Program that had been recommended by County Controller Chiquita Barkley. The board gave preliminary approval to the establishment of the fund in the amount of $210,000.00 from reserve funds the County already has and will pass a resolution at a later point that specifically allocates this funding.
Capital Improvement Program funding can be especially helpful when major expenditures come up that are not funded in the general operating budget, such as a replacement air conditioning system or roof replacement, both of which have occurred in recent years at various sites.
The annual budget process is one of the most complex tasks that the county government engages in each year. It requires the input and cooperation of County Department Heads, Constitutional Officers, other Elected Officials and the management of the entire process by Administration Staff. Because Georgia law requires expenditures to be balanced with dedicated revenues, it is really two budgets, revenue and expenditures, that have to come together to form a balanced budget.
The budget process begins early in the calendar year. Department heads and elected officials generally begin to prepare their budget requests in February and bring them to the table in early March. The County Controller, along with members of the administration staff, work on compiling the many requests of the departments into a preliminary budget. Simultaneously, the County Administrator works to determine what revenue amounts will be available in the upcoming budget year to fund the proposed budget. This process includes considerable input from the Tax Commissioner and Chief Appraiser to determine how much tax money will also be available for the budget.
Once the Board of Commissioners have reviewed preliminary budgets and made recommendations for adjustments, the county is then required to follow a strict advertising schedule, conduct public hearings on the budget and finally to adopt the budget and set the millage rate. This final step is generally done around July 1, the start of the new fiscal year.
Brewer added “I want to say how appreciative I am of the hard work that went into the budget this year by our administration staff. Controller Chiquita Barkley and her team worked tirelessly to put together the many pieces of the puzzle that form the annual budget and Tax Commissioner Nancy Washington and Chief Appraiser Charles McKeehan were extremely helpful to me on determining the revenue budget. As always, we are grateful to our department managers and elected officers who manage the many departments that form the county government. Their diligence and managing of their budgets and keeping spending down has been beneficial to this county in more ways than most people know. County Clerk Crystal Epps kept up with numerous requirements concerning advertisements, notices and meetings that had to take place on a dedicated schedule in order to make all of this work… It’s just an incredibly coordinated process on the part of everyone” he concluded.
With the budget now passed, the final step will be the delivery of the tax digest to the Georgia Department of Revenue next Wednesday. This will include the total millage rate for the entire county, which includes the Board of Education at 18.898 mils, the County at 13.281 mils, the Hospital Authority at 1.00 mil and the State portion which is down to 0.050 mils. The total rate this year will be 33.229 mils, which overall is a slight decrease from last year.
All Butts County business offices will be closed on Friday, July 3rd for the Independence Day Holiday. Offices will reopen at their normal office hours on Monday, July 6th. Butts County wishes everyone a safe Independence Day Holiday!
The Butts County Board of Commissioners held a public hearing on Thursday, June 25th 2015 at 5PM concerning the proposed FY2016 budget. County staff presented the budget statement to the public during the public hearing portion of the meeting, after which the hearing was opened to the public for input and comments. The questions and comments posed mainly centered around clarification on the Leisure Services budget, Jail Fund, Development Authority funding and the Senior Citizens Center budget. Recommendations from the public included increased funding for the Senior Center in the future due to the large growth in programs offered by the Center such as “Meals on Wheels”.
Highlights on the budget presentation included:
- A discussion on the millage rate and how it would be broken down on a tax bill (see slide below). Assuming there are no changes to what the Board of Education has proposed on their millage rate, the overall millage rate for the county will be slightly lower than it was.
- Of particular importance is the removal of one mil of tax from the county millage rate and dedicating that mil to the Butts County Hospital Authority. Currently, the County millage rate is 14.281 mils, which has included the Hospital Authority funding as part of the overall budget. The County millage will now reflect a 13.281 mil rate and a 1.000 mill rate for the Hospital Authority, with no net increase or decrease. This will help to ensure a stable and secure funding source for the hospital in the future that won’t be tied to the County budget.
- The budget proposed decreased as a result of this and other cuts by $577,146.00 to a proposed $18,583,714.00
A copy of the budget is available for inspection in the Board of Commissioner’s Office. On July 2nd, 2015, three called meetings will take place as follows:
- A called meeting at 5:00 PM to adopt the County M & O for FY2016
- A called meeting at 5:15 PM to adopt the County millage rate for FY2016
- A called meeting at 5:30 PM to adopt the total millage rate, including County, State, School and Hospital
The proposed combined millage rate for FY2016 is shown below in green, compared to the current FY2015 millage rate shown in pink.
The Joint City-County Transportation Board scheduled for June 25th at 6PM has been cancelled. The next scheduled meeting is July 23, 2015.
Everybody is invited to join in the fun as the City of Jackson lights up the sky celebrating America’s birthday on July 4th! Grab your blanket or lawn chairs and be awed by this star spangled spectacle of entertainment, food, games and the grande finale – the fireworks!
The evening takes place at the Butts County Recreation Department and gates open at 5:00 p.m. The entry fee is $5.00 per car and all proceeds go toward purchase of next year’s fireworks.
Rock to 50’s & 60’s music performed by Cruise Control and lead singer Teddy Sauls, entertaining from the grand stand and broadcast live over WJGA Radio, 92.1 FM. Youngsters can play to their hearts content in the Bounce Houses and cool off with rides down the Slip n Slide and all ages will enjoy competing in the Water Melon Eating Contest. And for those looking for a little art and glamor, there will be face fainting and hair coloring! Food will be available in the concession stand throughout the evening.
The grand finale will be a fireworks show rivaling any other in the state! City employees and volunteers will be detonating hundreds of fireworks in varying sizes and shapes creating a spectacle in the sky worthy of this honorable holiday! The fireworks show will start at first dark.
As you enjoy this wonderful celebration in your hometown, don’t forget to show your appreciation to those who make it possible, the Red, White & Boom sponsors:
WJGA – 92.1 FM, Peachtree Amoco Station, White’s Auto Collision, the Bill Jones Family, Stananco Inc., Cleveland Metal Inc., Westbury Medical Home, Cook’s Lock and Alarm Service, Huddle House, Lucky Lotto Mart, Mesquite Mexican Grill, Atty. Denise Hemmann and City Pharmacy. Special appreciation to the Butts County Board of Commissioners, Butts County Parks & Recreation Department and Butts County Sheriff Gary Long for partnering with the City of Jackson to make this a great event.
The Butts County Commissioner’s Office is pleased to announce the appointment of Linda Parrish to the position of Director for the Butts County Leisure Services Department. Ms. Parrish brings to Butts County considerable experience in the management of departments of similar size and scope, including 15 years as Director in Greene County, Georgia and 3 years experience as Director in Jackson County, Georgia. Prior to that, Ms. Parrish worked for 11 years with YMCA as both a Program Director and later, Senior Program Director. She additionally has 3 years of experience working in health and nutrition at the early childhood educational level.
Ms. Parrish holds a BS degree, majoring in Recreation with minors in Business and Sociology as well as the Georgia Certified Park and Recreational Professional. She is also a graduate of the George Harris Executive Management Institute, an affiliate program of the Georgia Recreation & Parks Association (GRPA) and the University of Georgia.
She was awarded the GRPA 6th District Distinguished Professional Award in 2002 and the Beacon of Light Award that same year. As Director in Greene County, her department was awarded the District 6 Agency of the Year award from GRPA. She also served as District Chairperson for six years from 2006-2012.
“I am very pleased to welcome someone of Linda Parrish’s caliber to Butts County to head our Leisure Services Department” said County Administrator Michael Brewer. “This department oversees our offerings in parks and recreational activities for our citizens ranging from small children to older adults. Organized sports programs, fitness classes, community events and much more take place in our park every day. Our Senior Citizens Center is also very active now with a range of programs available to our active older adults. All of this is due to the efforts of our dedicated staff and I feel that Linda Parrish will only enhance that and take us to the next level”.
She is scheduled to begin her new duties on July 6th. Until then, Interim Director Mitch Bowman will continue to oversee the day-to-day activities of the department. “I want to also say that I appreciate the job Mr. Bowman has done during this transition time” Brewer stated. “It certainly isn’t an easy job and really, it’s a balancing act to coordinate a department that deals with so many different programs, people and time schedules”.
The Butts County Board of Commissioners will hold a Public Hearing on June 25, 2015 in the County Administration Building auditorium at 625 W. Third Street, Jackson at 5PM for the public to comment on the budget. A series of called meetings will be held on July 2, 2015 beginning at 5PM to adopt the Final FY 2016 Budget, followed by a called meeting at 5:15PM to set the County mil rate and a called meeting at 5:30PM to adopt the school mil rate, hospital mil rate and set the total mil rate.
The FY2016 Budget document is available for public review in the Commissioners Office at the above address during normal business hours.