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Bulloch County commissioners approve budget
Bulloch County Seal PNG

Bulloch County Commissioners approved a fiscal 2015 budget of slightly more than $65 million Tuesday morning.

The move was slightly delayed so numbers could be checked for accuracy, Bulloch County Manager Tom Couch said.

Last week, commissioners held a workshop prior to a public hearing, which no one except county employees attended. Commissioner Ray Mosley said he interpreted the low attendance to mean citizens "have trust in us to do the right thing."

Couch said the finalization of the budget will follow reconciliation of "carryover" projects and expenses from fiscal 2014.

Couch reported last week that revenues are slightly up and the economy appears to be improving, but commissioners are still making conservative budget decisions.

There will be no tax increase, but expenditures and costs will still be limited and, hopefully, the county will be able to begin rebuilding its fund balance in 2015, he said.

Couch said the estimated general appropriation budget for fiscal 2015 is $65.7 million, with $31.9 million specified for the general fund.

Special revenue funds are estimated at $8.6 million; enterprise funds at $2.3 million; internal service funds at $5 million; and Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax (SPLOST) funds at $24.5 million.

The general fund pays for governmental activities that are largely paid for from property taxes and other unrestricted revenues.

Because the county has tapped into its fund balance in recent years because of the recession, measures are still necessary to ensure rebuilding of the fund balance and to avoid raising taxes, Couch said.

Couch recommends creating no new positions, maintaining limited expenditure, limiting overtime and other cost-saving measures. In some areas, revenues are down, such as in traffic fine collections through the courts. Couch included a recommendation for a 1 percent cost of living increase for full-time employees, as well as other small perks.

"I would like to thank Mr. Couch and all department heads who put this (budget) together," commission Chairman Garrett Nevil said. "We do have a balanced budget."

Holli Deal Saxon may be reached at (912) 489-9414.


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