The Houston County Commission unveiled its budget for the coming fiscal year Tuesday, which calls for $107.8 million in total spending and does not raise taxes.
The budget includes $54.8 million in general fund spending, which is a little less than the current fiscal year. The general fund pays for the basic county services, including the sheriff’s department, public works and administration. The remaining part of the total budget includes specially funded operations such as the landfill, 911, the fire department and the water system. It also includes the special purpose local option sales tax, which projects $21.7 million in spending.
The budget includes a 3-percent cost of living raise for county employees, which costs about $800,000, said Commission Chairman Tommy Stalnaker. He added that there were many requests from department heads for additional employee positions, but he said the county could not do that without raising taxes. The budget includes no funding for new positions.
“This is the toughest budget that I’ve been involved in,” Stalnaker said. “It’s been very, very difficult.”
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He also noted that the county did not tap into its reserve fund to balance the budget. He credited the belt tightening of department heads with allowing the commission to balance the budget without raising the millage rate.
The board will vote on the budget at a called meeting set for 11 a.m. June 28 in the commission meeting room at the Courthouse Annex at 200 Carl Vinson Parkway.
Also at the meeting, the board approved a list of 31 roads to be resurfaced, pending approval by the Georgia Department of Transportation.
The work would be paid for with $767,425 from the DOT’s annual Local Maintenance and Improvement Grant. Houston will pitch in $230,227 in local matching funds, for a total of $997,652.
The amount is significantly higher than last year’s grant, which would mean more roads getting resurfaced, Stalnaker said. Last year the state gave $588,601 in resurfacing funds, and with the county’s local match the total was $781,664.
The funds are allocated for the next fiscal year, so work likely isn’t to get started until next spring.
Most of the road sections to be resurfaced are less than a mile, and many are less than a half mile. Roads on the list are Wheelus Street, Heard Road, Brittany Drive, Van Dorn Court, Gleneagle Drive, Hanover Drive, Darin Drive, Muirfield Lane, Brighton Drive, Chisom Trail, Van Drive, Williams Drive, Plantation Place, Sleepy Lane, Loch Mere Drive, Sweet Bay Road, Wellston Drive, Jennifer Lane, Kristle Lane, Santa Fe Trail, Stewart Drive, Tharpe Drive, Kings Crest Boulevard, Third Street (Elko), Grove Lane, Jasmine Way, Nichole Court, Wiley Way, Lumpkin Drive, Stanford Street and Crestview Church Road.