Lee raises fees, cuts job slots - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Lee raises fees, cuts job slots

June 11, 2007

Leesburg -- Between a tax increase and a cut in services, Lee County Commissioners choose the latter.

Commissioners now have a balanced budget without a tax increase, but many fees like recreation and garbage fees and businesses licenses are going up.  The county has also eliminated any new positions and is holding off on pay increases for employees. 

While taxes in Lee County won't be going up, fees for recreation, garbage pick up, and business licenses will.  To balance the budget without a tax increase something had to give and since recreation fees haven't increased in five years, commissioners reluctantly raised the rates 50 percent. 

 "Lee County's known for it's recreation and we want to keep it that way, we want every child to be able to play if they want to play," said Lee County Commission Chairman Morris Leverett.

Dixie baseball will also increase by 10 dollars.  Business licenses were proposed to increase 155%, but since the county has struggled to attract new business, commissioners rolled that back to a 50% increase to compete with surrounding counties.

"We want to keep ours as low as possible that way it will encourage people to come to Lee County," said Leverett.

Because of the tight budget, three part time fire fighter positions were eliminated and each county department lost capital projects along with no pay increase until November.  Garbage rates will also increase by nearly a dollar.

"There were a few items this year, some new personnel and that type of thing that were not proposed but that's okay, each year is a new year," said Lee County Administrator Alan Ours. 

Many property owners can likely live with the fee increases, they'll be a lot less than the proposed three mill increase would have cost them.

"I think the citizen's will be happy that there's no tax increase next year and we were able to find ways to balance the budget without that and continue to provide those services," said Lee County Administrator Alan Ours.

If the county collects more taxes than expected, some cut services will be reconsidered come spring.

The Lee County Board of Commissioners will meet June 19th at 5:00 PM to adopt the 2007-2008 proposed budget.  That meeting will be held in the assembly room of the County Administration Building.

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