TURNER CO., GA (WALB) - The Turner County Commission worked to slash its budget by hundreds of thousands of dollars, including major changes for the next fiscal year.
The commission hosted a public hearing Monday to hear residents' thoughts on the cuts, including the EMS branch in west Ashburn.
The Turner County 2017-2018 fiscal budget is about $600,000 less than the current fiscal year.
That created some tough decisions for the commission.
Commission Chairman Sam McCard said the county's initial budget proposal came in around $9.2 million.
So, commissioners asked department heads and elected officials to lower their budgets.
EMS is one department affected.
The proposed budget would shut down the EMS branch located on West Washington Avenue in Ashburn.
"It's definitely going to add a few seconds, 30 seconds to a minute, to us getting to some of the areas on the west side of the tracks," said Robby Royal, Turner County EMS Director.
"It could possibly delay call time by a few seconds," said McCard.
McCard said three people will lose their jobs from the shut down, but EMS will go back to operating how it did prior to the branch being opened.
"As far as manning a shift, there'll be 3 to a shift," said McCard. "We'll utilize our firemen during the evenings and on the weekends to fill that void where it's needed."
Turner County Sheriff Andy Hester proposed raises for his deputies. However, the commission made a decision to cut raises across in all departments this year.
"My only issue is I would have loved to have been able to look after my employees with a raise. That wasn't the case," said Sheriff Hester.
Both Royal and Sheriff Hester said they've worked well with county commissioners and are confident their departments will keep running as usual to keep people safe.
"We all compromised and we've always worked together, myself and the commissioners," said Sheriff Hester.
McCard says he expects the budget to be up for approval the next time the commission meets on June 27.
If it is approved, the EMS branch on West Washington Avenue would close down effective July 1, 2017.
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