ALBANY, GA (WALB) - Dougherty County commissioners heard from financial consultants at their meeting Monday morning.
The consultants advised that the county raise property taxes.
"We recommended that they have a property tax increase of four mills. Two mills to balance the budget, which is about $4 million, one mill to add $2 million back to the reserves because they've been spending the reserves since 2015, and one mill to accumulate $2 million for pay adjustments for all county employees," explained Ed Wall, a Piper Jaffery Financial consultant.
The proposed property tax increase means that if you have a $100,000 house in Dougherty County, you would pay an extra $160 in taxes at the end of the year.
The consultants also advised commissioners to increase the county's employees' salaries.
"Our employees at the county have worked for us for a very long time. They've weathered some tough financial storms and they've been without a pay increase for a long time. We need to make sure we value our employees, so they can do the work for our citizens," said Dougherty County Commission Chairman Chris Cohilas.
The financial advisers said this would provide employees with an incentive to work for the county.
This also includes increasing the Dougherty County Sheriff's Office budget.
Sheriff Kevin Sproul asked commissioners for more money in his budget. He's pleading for a 15 percent increase for the employees.
Sproul said there's a high turnover, including losing qualified deputies to other higher paying counties.
The sheriff's office just had a captain turn in a resignation just last week.
The request also includes money for all first responders.
"Which just shows the importance of trying to retain people who have this experience and this wealth of knowledge. Somebody of 16 years shouldn't be leaving us to take another job at a captain's pay," said Sproul.
The thought of consolidation came up in the meeting. Sproul said he's here for the people and would be willing if that's what they want.
The budget must be approved by the end of the month.