The Board of Commissioners will hold a series of meetings over the next several weeks for the purposes of passing the FY2017 budget. The budget proposal, which has been presented to the public in a series of workshops over previous weeks, will be presented in its final form at a called meeting scheduled for Thursday, June 30th, at 5PM. This meeting will only be to receive input from the public on the budget, which is currently available for inspection at the Commissioners Office and will not be voted on at this time.
Then on July 7th, the Board will hold three required meetings for approval and adoption of the budget, the county millage rate and the school board’s millage rate. The first meeting, scheduled for 5:00 PM will be to adopt the Fiscal Year 2017 County Budget, which would go into effect on July 8, 2016 and run through June 30, 2017. The second meeting, scheduled for 5:15 PM would be to adopt the County Millage Rate alone and the third meeting, scheduled for 5:30 PM would be to adopt the total millage rate, which includes the County, School Board and Hospital.
Some important things to keep in mind about this year’s budget:
- There has been a mistaken perception that a new Hospital Tax was imposed. Last year, in order to simplify budgeting, the appropriation previously given to the Hospital Authority of Butts County out of the County Budget was removed from our budget and dedicated to a mil of tax on its own. Prior to last budget year, this millage was included in the County’s overall millage rate. In other words, this is not a new tax or a new mil added but rather, it is broken out to properly show what that mil was dedicated to. The County is required each year to appropriate between $540k-$600 to the Hospital Authority which goes towards facility upkeep and pays indigent care costs. Because this money was not actually going towards a County department or agency, we felt that it improved transparency by removing it from the County budget and making it a standalone item. It also helped to ensure that the hospital continues receiving their guaranteed revenue source, which is critical to vital hospital operations and indigent care costs. Again, it is not a new appropriation that the County is giving to someone and this prevents it from being “hidden” in the overall millage rate. The County has been appropriating funds to the Hospital Authority now for over 50 years.
- The intent of the County was originally to hold the millage rate flat at 13.281 mils for the new budget year, allowing valuation increases in the tax digest to carry the increased size of the budget for FY2017. However, it was not necessary to do this because of new growth to the digest that has been added over the past year and is now being reflected in the digest. New growth such as new homes, businesses and other buildings in the digest was stagnant for several years due to the lengthy recession that began in 2009; however, this now appears to be coming back to pre-2009 levels again. By taking into account the new growth value added to the tax digest, we are proposing a millage rate reduction again this year, to 12.709 mils, the lowest in decades. By rolling back the millage rate, this will help property owners, especially those whose values had begun to rise again.
This year the County is appropriating Capital Improvement Project funds for single purpose projects designed to help economic development activities in Butts County. This includes up to $1 million in funds (spread over two years) towards road and intersection improvements to accommodate the new Dollar General warehouse planned for construction at the Highway 16 and Interstate 75 interchange, anticipated to bring over 500 new jobs to Butts County. We have also reserved funds of $100 thousand for the State of Georgia that will be our local contribution towards the construction of a new Butts County Conference Center within the Indian Springs State Park. The State of Georgia and others are contributing in excess of a million dollars towards this project, which has been identified by local governments, civic organizations and regional entities as being sorely needed in Butts County. The facility is anticipated to be able to accommodate 500 guests.
The proposed Fiscal Year 2017 General Fund Budget is highlighted below:
|Dept||Designation||FY 2016 Appropriation|
|1100||Board of Commissioners||$87,067.00|
|1120||Board of Equalization||$18,015.00|
|1400||Board of Elections||$156,752.00|
|1545||Tax Commissioner’s Office||$282,208.00|
|1550||Tax Assessor’s Office||$402,485.00|
|2100||Towaliga Judicial Circuit||$656,778.00|
|2180||Clerk of Superior Court||$409,791.00|
|2650||Clerk of Juvenile Court||$75,602.00|
|3920||Office of Homeland Security||$12,047.00|
|6100||Leisure Services Department||$788,516.00|
|6300||Senior Citizens Services||$218,690.00|
|7400||Community Development||$1,532,347.00 *|
|Health and Welfare||$242,690.00|
|TOTAL FY 16 APPROVED BUDGET||$18,777,287.00|
|TOTAL FY 17 PROPOSED BUDGET||$20,220,128.00|
|TOTAL FY 17 ANTICIPATED REVENUE||$20,220,128.00|
|TOTAL REVENUE VS EXPENDITURES||$0.00|