3 local governments prepare to spend combined $273.55 million

Fayette County Commission — $73.3 million budget smaller than this year’s, but no tax increase

The Fayette County Commission will have a public hearing on its proposed 2010-2011 budget as part of its regular meeting Thursday night.

Despite a $2 million revenue hit from sinking property tax values, the county is not planning to enact a property tax increase. Instead the budget has been pared to absorb the loss.

The total proposed budget is $73.3 million, which is 1.4 percent less than the adopted budget for the current fiscal year.

The public hearing will be a part of the regular commission meeting, which starts at 7 p.m. at the county’s Stonewall government complex located off Ga. Highways 54 and 85 in downtown Fayetteville. The commission’s meeting room is located directly across from the Heritage Park fountain.

Again this year the county will get by without any new staff positions or promotions. Last year the county eliminated 21.5 full-time equivalent full-time positions as a cost-saving measure, and it was noted at the time that county employees were bearing the burden of an increased workload to compensate for the lack of staffing.

In the proposed budget, another 8 full-time equivalent positions have been eliminated through attrition, according to county staff.

Fayette’s property tax digest took a 7.9 percent tumble due in large part to the economy. Property taxes account for 61 percent of the county’s total revenues in the proposed budget.

Sales taxes, which comprise about 21 percent of the budget, have also dropped significantly, from $10.7 million in 2008 to an estimated $9.3 million this budget year, staff reported.

County staff is proposing to use $545,000 in cash reserves to balance the 2010-2011 budget.

Next year the county is expecting to take an even larger property tax hit as commercial properties stand to be devalued significantly, County Manager Jack Krakeel has told the commission.