Commissioners discuss various budget cuts

Published: Monday, July 29, 2013 at 02:03 PM.

Abbott said the county is facing a budget shortfall, and the job of budgeting for the county is not getting any easier.

“Has anyone contacted the constitutional officers to see what money they will be bringing back to the budget?” Abbott asked. “Have we thought about contacting them and seeing if they could cut their budgets by three percent?”

Abbott also suggested the county look into setting a minimum property tax of $250 for all residents. “The minority of residents are paying the taxes for the majority,” he said. “I think everyone who uses county services should have to pay taxes.”
Chairman Alan Bush noted that the county budget is facing unfunded mandates from the state and federal governments, which have increased the county’s financial woes. As the budget stands presently, the county is facing a $102,000 deficit.

“We couldn’t have predicted they would increase the amount the county has to pay into the retirement the way they did,” Bush said, noting that the county is being required to pay an additional $227,000 to the state employee pension program.

On top of that, the county’s ad valorem tax base has dropped about $228,000, due to declining property values.

“We have discussed this and discussed this — we knew this day was coming,” said Commissioner Charles Brock. “Why don’t we do something? Why doesn’t the county get prepared?”

“I said it before, we need a strategic plan for the county,” Commissioner Joel Pate said. “We’ve never had one, but we need to sit down and come up with a plan. This county has no plan whatsoever. Whatever someone sticks on the agenda, that’s our plan.”

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