By Kristi Reed
Continuing economic woes have forced the county to eliminate several requested items from the 2009 budget.
The Barrow County Board of Commissioners got its first look at the proposed cuts Tuesday night. Among the items left unfunded for next year are $1.8 million in capital purchases and 45 requested positions including additional staff for the county’s ladder truck, additional courthouse security personnel and additional staff for the Superior Court. The county has also eliminated all non-required travel and training for the upcoming fiscal year.
Chief Administrator Keith Lee said the cuts were necessary due to decreased county revenues.
For 2008, the county has experienced a 62 percent decline in new housing permits, a ten percent decline in rezones and a 17 percent decline in revenues from fees related to legal instruments such as deeds.
To help offset some of the revenue reduction, the county will be considering a stormwater utility fee of $20 per household and a monthly 911 charge of $1.50 on wireless and Voice-Over –Internet-Provider (VOIP) bills.
Additionally, 13 vacant positions will be left unfilled and county employees will be limited to a 2.5 percent pay increase in the upcoming year.
In January, one full time position in leisure services, a part-time position at the senior center and a part time position in the finance department will be eliminated. The reductions and unfilled jobs will reduce the ratio of employees to residents from 8.07 employees per every 1,000 residents in 2008 to 7.46 employees per 1,000 residents in 2009.
Lee said the millage rate for the upcoming year will remain unchanged. The county has proposed a rate of 7.182 mils for Winder residents and 9.338 mils for residents outside the city limits.
The total recommended budget for 2009 is $37.6 million or a .5 percent increase over 2008. The 2009 budget includes $26.7 million in salaries and benefits, $7.2 million in operating expenses, $944,000 in capital expenses and $2.5 million in other expenses.
A public hearing on the budget will be held on Thursday, September 18 at 6 p.m. The board will vote on the budget at its regular meeting on Tuesday, September 23.
DuWayne R. Anderson
09/03/08 at 08:00 AM
Please remember that this is a Presidential election year. Any of you who have been around for a few of these, know that Wall Street investment brain children,as well as mortgage brokerage houses and banks, get very nervous and unsettled when they don't know whose going to be running the ship for the next four years. Until this election is decided, the present turmoil and uncertainty will continue.
Because of the extreme views of Mr. Obama on universal health care, controversial new programs requiring additional taxes to support them, liberal views on abortion, and bringing our troops home into an already depressed employment market, it is a wonder that things are not worse than they are now.
Mr. McCain's views on these issues are much more mainstream, and as such, give Wall Street, and the Banking Industry a little more of a warm and fuzzy feeling about the future. We can't afford to Duck Tape the National wallet and still grow this country. You will find that most successful corporations invest in the future, even in depressed economic times. This is not by accident, but by carefully calculated
plans designed to ride out the storm.
Stagnation breeds stagnation, and growth breeds growth. In my view, stagnation is not the answer to fix any economic woes.
DuWayne R. Anderson