Blue Ridge, Ga. – With 83.33 percent of the budget complete, Fannin County Finance Director Robin Gazaway revealed that the county is in good shape and currently four percent under budget for the 2018 fiscal year.
Gazaway presented an overview of the county’s budget at the latest Board of Commissioners meeting. Showing the standing of the county budget through Oct. 31 of this year, most departments are reporting right at their projected spending or a little below.
The Parks and Recreation Department is reporting approximately $224,000 in revenue for the year, and the Hotel/Motel tax has produced record numbers for the county.
Special Purpose Local Options Sales Tax (SPOLST) revenues are also up in 2018. All of this added revenue points to a healthy economy in Fannin County.
A few departments showed overages with one being the Administration Department.
“The biggest difference is the health insurance cost,” Gazaway said explaining the slight overage in Administration.
The Administration Department recently took on the role of managing all healthcare costs and insurance, rather than having the cost divided among departments. This was due in large to protecting the anonymity of employees when it comes to healthcare.
Gazaway explained that this number will “level out” some as the county is reimbursed for monies spent and also pointed out that healthcare is an area of budgeting that is more difficult to predict.
The Public Safety Department also showed to be over their projected budget through October.
“Mostly that is due to the detention center,” Gazaway explained that Public Safety is another area that is difficult to plan ahead, “and that is something that just cannot be predicted. Most of the overages is due to the fact that there is more inmates.”
This point of interest regarding the Public Safety Department led to discussion about how spending is handled for inmates being held at the detention facility.
“Inmate medical is based on the number inmates,” Gazaway stated of the current system, “It’s not really based on if they are sick or not. They just have a set rate per inmate.”
Fannin County Chairman Stan Helton clarified, “I know that inmate medical and food, those two line items were quite a bit over for the year, and again it just gets back to having more inmates.”
Chief Deputy, Major Keith Bosen was present at the meeting and shed light onto the influx in Fannin County’s inmate population: “Numbers fluctuate. This time of the year they end up going a little bit higher over the colder part of the season. More crimes are being committed, as well as the holiday season is coming up. So you’re going to have some burglaries, people trying to steal things because people are buying them (gifts) getting ready for Christmas and the holidays.”
Bosen also added about inmate medical costs, “They either have this (illness) when they come in and they have no medical insurance and we’re stuck with it, or some do have medical insurance.”
“That’s just something out of our control,” Post 1 Commissioner Earl Johnson stated of the unpredictability of the matter.
Despite some departments showing slight increases in the budget for the year, Fannin County is still in good standing overall by being four percent under budget with less than 20 percent of the fiscal year remaining.
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