2020 Budget Unanimously Approved by Commissioners

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2020 Budget

BLUE RIDGE, Ga – The $28,564,665 operating budget received full-approval from the commissioners after they tabled it in Nov. 26, 2019 meeting.

In the last meeting, Post One Earl Johnson refused to approve the 2020 budget until Chief Financial Officer Robin Gazaway provided an approximated fund balance, to accurately determine the county’s financial standing.

“I have a tree’s worth of paper.” commented Johnson, “I’m fine with the budget as presented. The only thing that still concerns me as far as presenting our revenues, as far as land development or 911, those are all still revenue generators it’d be nice to have those numbers, from here moving forward, in our reports too.”

The monthly reports don’t consistently include those numbers or presented as permits received. Johnson suggested including the year-to-year dollar amount in land development, as well as other revenue generators, to gain a detailed assessment of building revenues in Fannin.

“Reporting our revenues so we can all keep up with revenues in the departments to me is critical.” said Johnson, “I just think it’s a very good gauge to know where we’re going to have revenues and expenditures.”

Johnson stressed that it didn’t have to be exact, just a measure to see the financial direction of the county. He used 911/ambulance services as an example. The department has a $2 million budget expenditure but brings in around $1 million in revenues, so the department only spends $1 million.

“[The budget’s] increase[d] from the 2019 budget that was $27,710,456, that’s an increase of $854,000 or three percent increase over the previous year,” explained Chairman Stan Helton, “We’ll be going into the general fund for $678,616.”

Commissioners cut around half a million from the original budget proposal in Oct. 2019. In the future, the commissioners will receive a monthly approximated fund balance.

Post Two Glenn Patterson recognized, “It’s one of the most important things we do all year long. We took a second look at it and reviewed things that we might feel uncomfortable with.”

He also commended Gazaway, “She bent over backward to help me understand. It’s a big step for all of us to understand these things.”

Helton added, “I’m greatly appreciative of Commissioner Patterson and Johnson[…]everybody’s input is important. We all have the same goal, and that’s trying to get the best services for the fewest amount of dollars for the taxpayer.”

Additionally, the commissioners chose a new auditor for 2019. The state of Georgia recommends to change auditors every three to five years, and Rushton and Associates conducted the previously three audits. Bates, Carter, and Company won with a bid of $55,000. The financial company audited several county governments in the past.

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