Crunch time approaching for Fayette BOE budget

Members of the Fayette County Board of Education Tuesday night are expected to continue discussions on issues relating to the upcoming budget for FY 2011 that begins in July. As it stands now, the school system is expected to end the year on June 30 with a $14.9 million general fund surplus.

Waiting in the wings, in terms of FY 2011 income, are falling state and local revenues and any additional action imposed by the Georgia General Assembly for this fiscal year or next.

School system Comptroller Laura Brock last week told board members that budget cuts so far this year result in the projection that the school system will end the year with a surplus of $10.4 million. Combined with last year’s surplus of $4.509 million, the system should end the year nearly $15 million ahead. The school system has no reserved fund account.

But those numbers came with a price that included a 4.5 percent pay cut to employees, numerous cost-cutting measures implemented over the past two years and three state-imposed furlough days, at $600,000 each, during the first half of this fiscal year.

The board at recent meetings has heard proposals that they might consider as they begin to crunch the numbers that will go into the next budget. Other recommendations are likely to continue prior to the passage of the FY 2011 budget due by the end of June.

Fayette County’s preliminary tax digest figures showed that the county’s overall value decreased by 6.35 percent for 2010, with Fayetteville and the unincorporated areas experiencing the greatest decrease in value.

The total worth of the county for 2010 is projected at approximately$5.384 billion with last year’s values at approximately $5.748 billion, a difference of approximately $364 million.