TIFTON — A preliminary $27.8 million budget proposal for Fiscal Year 2019-20 was presented to the Tift County Board of Commissioners on May 30.
The proposed $27,856,273.16 budget is less than last year’s $28.3 million.
The preliminary budget proposes no tax increases.
The current tax rates of 12.171 mills for the county and 1.203 mills for the County Special Tax District would stay the same.
The County Special Tax District encompasses all of Tift County except for the City of Tifton. The special tax district funds county fire services, as well as mosquito control and development support (planning, zoning and code enforcement).
The proposed budget includes a 2% cost of living increase for county staff.
The budget does not include any new staff positions. It calls for six new vehicles for the Tift County Sheriff’s Office and five dump trucks for Public Works.
Projected expenditures broken down by department are as follows:
• Public Safety: $12.4 million.
• General Government: $7 million.
• Public Works - Roads: $3.5 million.
• Judicial: $3 million.
• Culture/Recreation: $1.5 million.
• Housing Development: $171,483.
The Tift County Library Board of Trustees is asking for an additional $30,000 in funding on top of the county’s proposed funding of $318,110.
“We own the building, so we have to do the infrastructure stuff if anything breaks down,” said Library Board Chairman Val Vanags at the meeting.
In a letter to the TCBOC, the library board notes that the library’s reserve fund “only has enough in reserves to run the operation for two months.”
Tift County Manager Jim Carter asked the library board to meet with him.
Commissioners discussed the possibility of obtaining more state funds for the library.
“We need to figure out a way to help the library, whether it’s with the state or whatever,” said TCBOC Chairman Grady Thompson.
On the revenue side, property taxes are projected to bring in $14.4 million, with LOST (Local Option Sales Tax) bringing in $5.4 million, service charges bringing in $3.5 million, and fines and forfeitures bringing in $2.7 million.
Those four categories are estimated to bring in a little more than 94 percent of total revenues.
Carter noted that after switching to a new emergency services billing company, collections for EMS services went from $1 million in FY 2017-18 to an estimated $1.4 million in FY 2018-19.
The FY 2019-20 budget estimates EMS revenues at $1.6 million.
The county is holding two more meetings before making the FY 2019-20 budget official.
On June 11 at 6 p.m., the board will hold a public hearing on the budget.
On June 18 at 6 p.m., the board is set to vote on the budget.
Both meetings will be at the Charles Kent Administrative Building at 225 N. Tift Ave.