Peach County fiscal 2014 budget $1.1 million in red

No tax increase expected, officials say

chwright@macon.comJuly 18, 2013 

Peach County has $1.1 million to cut from its fiscal 2014 budget, but officials maintained this week taxpayers aren’t in for a millage rate increase.

“It’s not balanced yet, but we’re working on it,” said Chairman Melvin Walker. “We don’t know exactly how it’s going to work out.”

Walker said Peach County commissioners have been trimming away at the budget for the past month. They’ve managed to cut $3.4 million of expenditures, but it’s now down to the tougher calls, Walker and County Administrator Marcia Johnson said.

“When everyone initially submits their requests, everyone acts like it’s Santa Claus,” Johnson said. “So some of (the cuts) are just easy.”

The county estimates it will receive $15.3 million in revenue, but expenditures are at $16.4 million, Jones said.

The budget must be approved by Oct. 1, when the new fiscal year begins. Peach County’s later start to the fiscal year gives time for the tax digest, which tells the county how much to expect in property taxes, to be finalized.

But Michaela Jones, account manager, said this year’s digest didn’t hold much excitement.

“We had a $600,000 increase,” she said. “That ain’t gonna do a thing.”

Jones said while the tax digest remained almost stagnant, the cost of living and supplies are increasing as the economy swings back to life.

Walker and Johnson said they are certain the budget can be balanced without a property tax increase. The current millage rate is 13.555.

So far, some capital items have been cut with the hope they can wait until the next special purpose local option sales tax begins in 2015. The items include heating and air in the courthouse, a radio upgrade for 911 and new vehicles for the Emergency Management Agency.

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