Lee Co. proposed budget brings good news for residents

Lee Co. proposed budget brings good news for residents
Lee County's proposed next year budget will not call for any tax increase. (Source: WALB)
The eight percent increase will be used to add two additional deputies. (Source: WALB)
The eight percent increase will be used to add two additional deputies. (Source: WALB)
Lee County Sheriff, Reggie Rachals (Source: WALB)
Lee County Sheriff, Reggie Rachals (Source: WALB)

LEE CO., GA (WALB) - Lee County's proposed budget for the next fiscal year will not call for any tax increase for homeowners but it will increase services and give a pay raise to county employees.

Lee County's finance committee said the 2018/2019 proposed county budget totals $24.6 million, that's a little over a $300,000 increase from the current budget.

Officials said they can have an increased budget with no tax increase because of the general growth of the county and its strong financial condition.

For the FY 2018/2019, the Lee County Sheriff's office will see an eight-percent increase and the jail operations will see a three-percent increase if the proposed budget is approved.

Lee County Sheriff Reggie Rachals explained the eight percent increase will be used to add two additional deputies to his staff, although he was hoping for 10 more.

"I asked for more men but I got two that I wasn't expecting but I'm happy to get those two," said Rachals.

Rachals explained this will benefit the county and with more manpower, the sheriff's office will be able to crack down on crime.

"Extra coverage on the street where you need them at the front line, where the uniform deputies are," said Rachals.

They will also be looking into buying a new van to transport the inmates to and from court and other outings.

Another area, that will receive a 15 percent increase is building inspection.

The county has hired a brand new building inspector due to the Lee County Medical Center.

The county's Planning and Engineering Department is bringing on a development services manager or GIS Coordinator, who will do mapping technology for the county.

Public Works will receive a three-percent increase.

And Information and Technology will receive a whopping 50 percent increase, which allows the county to upgrade its computer systems to prevent hack attacks and ransomware.

Another important item in the budget is a three-percent cost of living wage increase for all county employees that will be added to their salary. That increase will come from the general fund.

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