Lee Budget precludes tax hike - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Lee Budget precludes tax hike

Posted: Updated:
  • More WALB News10 HeadlinesMore News HeadlinesMore>>

  • Bombings kills 13 in Iraq

    Bombings kills 13 in Iraq

    Bombings kills 13 in Iraq

    Saturday, August 30 2014 12:00 PM EDT2014-08-30 16:00:13 GMT
     Iraqi forces are battling suicide bombers and brutal Islamic State terrorists in Iraq. (Source: CNN) Iraqi forces are battling suicide bombers and brutal Islamic State terrorists in Iraq. (Source: CNN)
    Two bombings targeting the Iraqi military killed 13 people, including six soldiers, south of Baghdad on Saturday.More >>
    Two bombings targeting the Iraqi military killed 13 people, including six soldiers, south of Baghdad on Saturday.More >>
  • Camilla police investigating Friday night shooting

    Camilla police investigating Friday night shooting

    Camilla police investigating Friday night shooting

    Saturday, August 30 2014 11:33 AM EDT2014-08-30 15:33:35 GMT
    (Source:MGN Online)(Source:MGN Online)
    Camilla police are investigating a shooting that happened Friday night.More >>
    Camilla police are investigating a shooting that happened Friday night.More >>
  • Liberian Ebola survivor praises experimental drug

    Liberian Ebola survivor praises experimental drug

    Liberian Ebola survivor praises experimental drug

    Saturday, August 30 2014 11:00 AM EDT2014-08-30 15:00:11 GMT
    Healthcare workers help treat Liberians in an effort to combat an outbreak of Ebola. (Source: CNN)Healthcare workers help treat Liberians in an effort to combat an outbreak of Ebola. (Source: CNN)
    A Liberian health worker who recovered from Ebola after receiving an experimental drug urged the manufacturer to speed up its production.More >>
    A Liberian health worker who recovered from Ebola after receiving an experimental drug urged the manufacturer to speed up its production.More >>

 By Jim Wallace - bio | email

ALBANY, GA (WALB) - Most south Georgia cities and counties are struggling with budget problems right now. They're trying to avoid layoffs and cuts to essential services without raising taxes.

Lee County Commissioners figured out how to do that. They say they'll hire more deputies and firefighters and give employees a raise, all without a tax increase, and an accountant who exposed Lee County's embarrassing budget mistakes in 2006 is getting credit for this year's balanced proposal.  

The Lee County Commission Budget committee had one priority when they started work on the 2010 budget. "With the economy being as weak as it is, we would not condone or even consider a tax increase this year," said Commission Chairman Ed Duffy.

Department heads' first requests would have broken the bank.  Redbone Commissioner Bill Williams said "We were $3.8 million out of balance. And that would have necessitated a 4.5 mill tax increase."

Duffy and Williams said they started making cuts, except for public safety. The Fire Department got a $107,000 budget increase, so they can hire an Assistant Chief and another firefighter, and promote another firefighter.

The Sheriff got a $304,000 increase to hire three more Deputies. Public Works also got a $95,000 increase. Most other departments made cuts, the biggest by commissioners and administrators. In the end, no employee layoffs, instead a three percent pay raise.

Before becoming a Commissioner, Bill Williams in 2005 caught a one and a half million dollar mistake in the Lee County budget, and exposed the problem. This year Duffy says Williams' expertise in government budgets helped prevent a tax increase.

But both agree that Lee County needs more business and commercial income to avoid tax increases in the future.  "Without commercial development, we're gonna have a serious problem. Because if we don't get commercial development, we're gonna have to resort to raising the millage rate," Duffy said.

The controversial Grand Island Golf Course will receive $40,000 in the 2010 proposed budget, and must cover the rest of their budget with user fees.

A public hearing on the Lee County proposed budget will be held June 15th, and then Commissioners will vote on it June 23rd.  

  • Click HERE to see the Lee County Budget in a PDF file.

 

©2009 WALB News. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.  Feedback