Citizens of Douglas County will get a chance to make public comments on a proposed $85.3 proposed budget that Douglas County Commission Chairman Romona Jackson Jones said last week would have “minimal impact to the general and no millage rate increase in the 2018 budget.”

The county staff and BOC have managed to whittle down expenditures that would have left the county with a $8.5 million shortfall. The $85.3 million budget now under consideration would require using a little more than $3 million from the balance but would not require the BOC to increase taxes next year.

A public hearing on the revised 2018 budget will be held Tuesday, Dec. 5 at 10 a.m. during the regular meeting of the Douglas County Board of Commissioners (BOC) in Citizens’ Hall on the second floor of the Douglas County Courthouse.

The 2018 proposed county budget is scheduled for adoption on Tuesday, Dec. 19 at 7 p.m. during the BOC's regularly scheduled meeting. The county’s 2018 fiscal year begins on Jan. 1.

According to a report from the county’s finance committee, the original 2018 budget presented at the BOC's budget retreat on Oct. 31 anticipated $81.8 million in revenue, but had expenditures at $93 million, showing a deficit or $11.9 million with an ending unassigned fund balance of $2.2 million or 2.41 percent of expenditures.

The newly proposed budget anticipates slightly higher revenues at $81.9 million, but through cuts in spending, expenditures have been reduced to $85.3 million. This leaves a $3.369 million deficit in the 2018 budget, which would require tapping into $3.369 million of the fund balance, leaving a healthy balance of 17.05 percent or $14.5 million reserves in the county coffers.

The report revealed that revenues were increased due to expected growth, a 97 percent tax collection rate and a 2 percent climb in the tax digest, which is the value of all taxable property in the county.

The biggest cut in the revised proposal involved removing all recommended Budget Improvement Requests (BIRs) from county department heads, which totaled a decrease in expenditures of $7.8 million.

To preview the proposed 2018 budget, go to the county’s website www.celebratedouglascounty.com.

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