Wednesday, May 22 2013 11:26 PM EDT2013-05-23 03:26:38 GMT
If you're traveling this Memorial Day Weekend, you may notice you're paying about the same at the pump as last year. AAA says the average gas price in Georgia right now is about $3.46 a gallon. That'sMore >>
If you're traveling this Memorial Day Weekend, you may notice you're paying about the same at the pump as last year.More >>
Wednesday, May 22 2013 11:20 PM EDT2013-05-23 03:20:46 GMT
Looks like will have great weather for Memorial Day weekend and DNR Rangers are preparing for big crowds on Lake Blackshear. Rangers expect a large number of boaters all weekend. They say they will strictlyMore >>
Looks like will have great weather for Memorial Day weekend and DNR Rangers are preparing for big crowds on Lake Blackshear.More >>
Wednesday, May 22 2013 11:14 PM EDT2013-05-23 03:14:04 GMT
A Cordele woman and her father are leading an effort to send clothes and other supplies to tornado victims in Moore, Oklahoma. Not only are a lot of people already donating items, but people are chippingMore >>
A Cordele woman and her father are leading an effort to send clothes and other supplies to tornado victims in Moore, Oklahoma.More >>
Wednesday, May 22 2013 8:20 PM EDT2013-05-23 00:20:52 GMT
The Lee County Sheriff's Department is now working with the Albany Crime stoppers. The Lee County Sheriff's Department asked to join the Albany Crime-stoppers program. The Sheriff's Department believesMore >>
The Lee County Sheriff's Department is now working with the Albany Crime stoppers. The Lee County Sheriff's Department asked to join the Albany Crime-stoppers program. The Sheriff's Department believes it will be a helpful tool in closing some cases.
Wednesday, May 22 2013 8:08 PM EDT2013-05-23 00:08:36 GMT
How would you save your pets life if a tornado touched down here in South Georgia? Tuesday's tornado ripped through Oklahoma taking 24 lives, and today families are still searching for their belongingsMore >>
How would you save your pets life if a tornado touched down here in South Georgia? Tuesday's tornado ripped through Oklahoma taking 24 lives, and today families are still searching for their belongings and pets that were lost during the storm More >>
ALBANY, GA (WALB) –Dougherty County employees are facing grim news for the upcoming budget year. The County commission voted earlier this week to increase health insurance premiums.
Now, furloughs are on the table-- 12 unpaid days, which equates to a 4.6% reduction in pay. That's a hard pill to swallow, after years of not getting cost of living or merit pay increases.
The County finance committee met today to look at what shape the county is in. County Administrator Richard Crowdis says the county must take severe, strong actions never taken before, and that employees will have to sacrifice.
His suggestion to save a million dollars is to implement furlough days, but there are other options on the table, like cutting money the county gives to outside agencies like the economic development commission and the Flint Riverquarium.
County Administrator Richard Crowdis delivered the news to the county finance committee in a somber tone, but it fell as a deafening blow.
"The biggest part of expenditures in our budget and most any local government budget is in salaries and benefits. It's two thirds, so that's where we have to go now. We're getting into the very painful cutting where we're looking at furloughs and unpaid days to reduce immediately the cost of government," Crowdis said.
It's imperative what the county spends is cut, because revenues have dropped dramatically. The tax digest has dropped by seven and a half percent. Which means the county will take in about half a million dollars less.
There's also been a drop in sales tax and in fines and forfeitures the county relies on for income.
"It's going to hit the employees now in the pocketbook," Crowdis said.
First, in higher health insurance premiums. Those begins July 1st, and if the 12 unpaid days are also implemented, they will begin in July as well. "Everything is on the table. Employees will have to sacrifice."
But so will other agencies that depend on the county for money. The Flint Riverquarium gets 250-thousand dollars a year to help fund operations.
Commissioner Lamar Hudgins says he can't imagine furloughing employees and not cutting what is given to the Riverquarium.
"No, I couldn't fund that and then have to look at employees and say you're going to have to take 12 unpaid holidays, no," said County Finance Committee Chairman Lamar Hudgins.
But even cutting out the Riverquarium, Economic Development commission, senior center and other agencies the county gives money to won't be enough. Furloughs will remain on the table, even if not all 12 days.
"It's a very deep recession," said Hudgins. Cutting employees where it hurts the most, while trying to stop the bleeding in the budget.
One area there has been a significant drop in ad valorem taxes is with motor vehicle tax. It seems people just are not buying new cars. There has been a drop in collections by $22.4 Million. Normally, motor vehicle taxes increase each year from three to five percent.
The county finance committee plans to meet twice a week for the rest of May to discuss the upcoming budget. They hope to bring furlough recommendations to the full commission soon, so employees and department heads will be able to make plans before those are implemented in July.