BLUE RIDGE, Ga – In a quick meeting, the board of commissioners reviewed the financial report through September 2020 and held the first lodging ordinance public hearing.
Fannin’s currently 75 percent into the 2020 budget with some departments showing overages. The Fire Department is over $33,590 due to lease payments. The number will continue to decrease as the year progresses.
The Sheriff’s Office is $54,389 over and the detention center is $4,249 over because of salaries, uniforms, and capital outlay projects. These numbers should decrease as the year continues as well.
The largest overage is in risk management. The health claims are up $478,302 and general liability is up $114,903, which is the annual payment. The budgeted amount for health claims was $1,550,000 and to date, $2,028,302 of claims have been turned in. Some county employees had significant health concerns and Fannin had to insure them.
The general liability budget was $300,000 and to date, it is $339,903.
Chairman Stan Helton accepted the blame for the large health cost because he set the budget too low last year.
“We are running significantly over, and quite honestly, the budgeted amount was too low. I’ll take the responsibility for that. We should have been a little more aggressive in what we budgeted for this year,” Helton explained. “Going forward, the budgeted amounts will be more of a stair-step, equal number during the year.”
However, the county moved off the self-insured plan and to a fully insured plan on July 1, 2020. According to Helton, the fully insured plan costs around $200,000 a month. Right now, Fannin is dealing with six months of self-insured and six months of fully insured.
The second payment for the courthouse debt was just paid for the year and after 2021, the building will be completely paid off.
Public work and SPLOST public works budgets are significantly under budget because the county decided to cut back on projects ahead of COVID-19.
LOST and SPLOST collections continue to be up for the year.
As of September 2020, Fannin County is operating one percent under budget.
“It’s related to the tourism business,” Helton added. “The revenue and what that does to help the county financially, there’s certainly a big plus on that.”
A statewide error also resulted in misappropriated business funds from 2015 to 2018, which resulted in an additional $700,000 for Fannin County.
No citizens spoke up during the lodging ordinance public hearing. The second hearing will be held on November 24.
Jode Mull with the Fannin County Chamber of Commerce stated that the increase to six percent wouldn’t affect the percentage that the Chamber receives. The county and chamber split the tax 50/50.
The chamber’s percentage goes toward product development, which can be used to benefit Fannin parks, trails, or improving existing goods.