BLUE RIDGE, GA – In what is being heralded as the first of its kind in the county, Fannin County Board of Commissioners held an all day budget workshop on Wednesday, September 20, 2017, in preparation for the 2018 budget.
The workshop was scheduled from 9 A.M. to 5 P.M. and was open to the public. Department Heads from each department came in to discuss their area’s proposed budget.
Commissioners scrutinized each line item while the department’s representatives were present. They questioned what each department planned to do with the money that they were asking for.
Most departments stayed right in line with the previous year’s budget having small increases or decreases to account for different needs in staffing or cost of goods to operate. All offices saw a slight raise in their salary budget as an overall 2% raise was given to government employees.
A few departments requested significant increases, but most were explained away with the need for additional personnel. Building Maintenance Supervisor Ken Petty was one of those who faced heavy scrutiny as his budget request was broken down and analysed.
County Chairman Stan Helton questioned Petty, “You have maintenance repair of the old courthouse building. Are you anticipating something there? 2017 there’s nothing in there, but you have requested it for 2018.”
Post Two Commissioner Larry Joe Sosebee further questioned Petty, “We got a request here for $2,000-$3,000 for maintenance and repair on vehicle. You got a new vehicle, what do you anticipate tearing up on it?”
To both of these questions Petty replied, “We just put it in there in case there is something.”
Petty’s budget request was approximately $748,000, showing over a 17% increase from last year’s request of $620,000.
Helton concluded with, “Go through and look at these items…if we can’t justify with something we have a known expenditure coming, then we are going to have to look at reducing that.”
On the opposite end of the budget spectrum, some departments made dramatic cuts, with the largest cut going to the Roads Department by Public Works Director Zach Ratcliff.
Ratcliff proposed approximately $300,000 in cuts to his department. These cuts came mainly from fuel purchases, tire allowance, and payroll. This $300,000 decrease comes on top of an 11% decrease in the department’s budget last year.
Helton remarked, “You were able to cut the tire budget way down. That’s on track to be about 1/4 of what you’ve spent out there before.”
Ratcliff confirmed that he was able to decrease the tire budget from $50,000 to roughly $8,000.
Another significant decrease came in salaries, as the Roads Department has reduced the number of employees from 54 to 39. Helton pointed out that we still have “50% more employees than surrounding counties.”
Post One Commissioner Earl Johnson stated that looking at the Road Department’s budget shows that what the county is doing is working. He said, “I’m proud of what we are doing with your budget. I’m glad to hear these amounts are coming down the way they have.”
This workshop gave insight into the county’s 2018 budget,but the Commissioners will meet and continue to amend the budget proposals. The final budget will be discussed and approved at a regularly scheduled meeting later this year.