Bulloch County Commissioners are expected to approve the fiscal year 2008 budget this morning, which will mean an increase in county taxes.
The proposal is to raise the millage rate from 8.63 to 10.38 mils. This increase follows a property revaluation this year.
At a budget hearing Thursday Bulloch County Manager Tom Couch and commissioners explained the need for a tax hike, but several citizens voiced opposition to the move. Some said raising taxes in the same year as a property revaluation is unfair.
Couch said for six of the past seven years, Bulloch County has dipped into the fund balance to make ends meet and not raise taxes. The fund balance has now been depleted to a dangerously low level, he said.
Couch's proposal for raising taxes includes a five-year plan to rebuild the fund balance, he said.
Couch and the commissioners have all said either taxes needed to be be raised or vital services had to be cut. The commissioners met with department heads before the public hearing and asked each of them whether their departments could survive a 10 percent or 20 percent budget cut. The majority of the department heads told commissioners services could not be provided if their budgets were reduced, citing cost increases and previous budget cuts they said slashed their funding to "bare bones."
Commissioners will meet today at 8:30 a.m. at the Bulloch County Annex to vote on the proposed budget as well as attend to a few other matters:
• Discuss an audit of Splash in the 'Boro.
• Vote upon bids for inmate pharmaceutical needs.
• Vote upon bids for a tractor.• Appoint persons to the Development Authority.