Dougherty budget amounts to no millage increase - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Dougherty budget amounts to no millage increase

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By Jennifer Emert - bio | email

ALBANY, GA (WALB) - The Dougherty County Commission got a look at its leaner, meaner budget that cut all departments by 6 percent and does not include a millage increase.

The $44.7 million budget is three million dollars less than last year. Monday commissioners said it was about holding the line for taxpayers.

It's a budget both the Dougherty County Commission and the taxpayers can likely live with.

"It's about 6% less than last year, with no millage increase," said Dougherty County Commissioner Lamar Hudgins.

"This is about the taxpayers, the taxpayer just can't continue to be busted," said Dougherty County Commission Chairman Jeff Sinyard.

County department were mandated to cut six percent out of each department's budget. That's meant vacancies were frozen, merit, cost of living and longevity payments were dropped, and uniform allowances were cut in half.

"Department heads and elected officials all cooperated very well and all understand what we're going through," said Hudgins.

The budget committee also got creative for departments that felt they needed funds, they found grant money so Sheriff Kevin Sproul can get body armor for his deputies and eventually later in the year security equipment, radios, and cameras for his cars.

"We try to run the county like a business, the best we can and consequently there's been times when we've been able to accumulate some money we're having to pull those rainy day funds out," said Sinyard.

That's meant dipping into their reserves for $13.3 million next year instead of asking taxpayers for the millage increase. If tough times continue however next year could be a different story.

If projects hold for 2009-2010 the county will be right at their three months supply of reserves that they don't want to go below. Monday Commissioners said steady SPLOST funds kept the county from having to make deeper cuts.

Next week the Dougherty County Commission will hold a public hearing on the budget. Three hearings will be held before the Commission adopts their budget on June 29th.

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