No Tax Increase in Houston County Budget | News
No tax hike, no new jobs and no lay-offs.
That's the message from Houston County Commissioners about their 2013 budget.
They say they tightened the purse strings, while managing to give employees a 3-percent cost-of-living increase.
Houston County Commission Chairman Tommy Stalnaker says if the budget passes as is, the county will operate on about $1.4 million less than last year.
He said, "There is a reason for that. Revenues will be down next fiscal year. Therefore expenses had to come down as well."
Stalnaker says he started meeting with county department leaders about the budget in January.
He said, "When we got budgets in, we were $1.5 million out of balance to begin the process for FY13."
He says they whittled down the numbers, agreeing on a roughly $50 million package, with no frills or new taxes.
Stalnaker said, "There is no millage rate increase planned for FY13. No new positions, as well, as there is no merit. Merit will not be reinstated for FY13."
County employees on the merit system will get a three-percent cost of living increase starting June 26.
Department leaders at the meeting praised commissioners for the pay increase.
Public Works Director Robbie Dunbar said, "We have a lot of employees, hourly employees that are paying $3.50 a gallon for gas, and they're going to really appreciate it."
One county taxpayer, Walton Wood, asked questions about a few line items, which Stalnaker explained immediately.
The four other commissioners stood in support of the slim and trim budget. Larry Thompson called it the best he's seen in his 12 years on the board.
Commissioners will meet for a special called session at the Houston County Annex next Tuesday at 5:30 p.m. for a vote.
The commissioners slated $55,000 as their contribution to the 21st Century Partnership, which is the organization that promotes the interests of Robins Air Force Base and its surrounding communities.
Stalnaker said that contribution is $5,000 more than last year.