Coweta adopts $59 million budget for 2012

There was little discussion Sept. 20 as members of the Coweta County Commission unanimously adopted $59.1 million General Fund budget for the fiscal year that begins in October. The FY 2012 budget represents a .76 percent decrease over the current budget.

County finance director Hans Wilson at the meeting provided a brief recap of the budget presentation made earlier this month. Wilson at that meeting said that FY 2012, like FY 2011, will be financially challenging across all fund categories.

On the expenditure side, the largest expenses will come in the public safety areas that total 37.86 percent of the budget, followed by general government at 21.36 percent, judicial at 11.73 percent and public works at 11.49 percent.

The proposed budget includes no cost of living adjustments for county employees, Wilson said. The county has changed its third-party administrator for healthcare insurance and the healthcare network, moves that will hopefully bring some savings in healthcare costs, Wilson added.
Wilson said seven vacant positions were eliminated, carrying a cost savings of $445,800 in the upcoming budget.

“Staff continues to review staffing levels in all departments to determine where resources can be shifted if needed in an effort to avoid new hires, furloughs and layoffs,” Wilson said Sept. 8.

Revenues in FY 2012 will also be indicative of the continuing recessionary economy.

Property taxes make up 50.45 percent of county revenues, followed by sales taxes at 23.51 percent.

“The property tax digest has declined approximately 5 percent which resulted in a decrease of about $1.4 million in the General Fund and $400,000 in the Fire Fund,” Wilson told commissioners. “The local option sales tax is expected to remain relatively flat due to the economy. The insurance premium tax will continue to come in around $3.4 million. These three revenue categories comprise about 70 percent of our total general revenues.”

Wilson said the FY 2012 budget represents a .76 percent decrease over the current budget.

Local option sales tax revenues for FY 2012 are expected to come in at approximately $13.75 million, similar to the numbers seen in FY 2011. The high mark for those revenues occurred in FY 2008 when receipts totaled approximately $15 million before dropping to approximately $13 million in FY 2009, Wilson said in an executive summary.

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