Houston still crunching budget numbers

wcrenshaw@macon.comJune 16, 2013 

WARNER ROBINS -- The Houston County Board of Commissioners will unveil its budget for the upcoming fiscal year Tuesday, and as of Friday the numbers were still being crunched.

The biggest uncertainty is employee raises. Board Chairman Tommy Stalnaker said he expects employees will get a raise, but he couldn’t say for sure how much it will be. He said there will not be a tax increase.

He said the final budget will likely be just a little more than last year’s general fund budget of $50.1 million, with few changes. It will continue a freeze in new personnel. Department heads can fill vacant slots but not add new positions.

“It will be balanced,” Stalnaker said of the budget. “We will not draw from the fund balance to balance the budget. It looks like there will be very, very little growth in the budget.”

He warned department heads earlier that due to flat revenues from property and sales taxes, which are the primary funding mechanisms of the general fund budget, it would be one of the toughest budgets in years.

“I still think we are in pretty fair condition compared to a lot of other counties,” he said.

Stalnaker meets with each department head, along with one other commissioner usually, to formulate the budget priorities.

The public hearing on the budget will be held at the board’s regular meeting at 6 p.m. Tuesday at the county annex at 200 Carl Vinson Parkway. A presentation will given, and residents will be able to ask questions and give comments.

The budget will be adopted at a called meeting 5:30 p.m. June 25 at the same location. The fiscal year begins July 1.

A copy of the proposed budget has been available for viewing at the commissioners office in the courthouse annex, but changes have been made, and it likely won’t be finalized until Monday or Tuesday.

To contact writer Wayne Crenshaw, call 256-9725.

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