Public safety will receive 55 percent -- $27.4 million -- of a proposed $50 million county budget for the 2018-2019 fiscal year. Carroll County Finance Director Leamon Stephens introduced the budget on May 1 during the Board of Commissioners meeting.

"There is not a lot of change this year, but we're looking to increase the budget about 2 percent, or right at about $980,000," Stephens said. "We're doing that to just sort of have a flat year. Last year, we were able to give everybody a 4 percent raise and this year we want to see where we go with the TSPLOST."

There is no millage rate increase in the proposed budget.

see budget/page A5

Highlights of the budget include increasing the general government portion of the budget, adding a new position at the tax assessor's office and allocating additional funds for the county's public safety departments and recreational department.

The general government portion would see a 4 percent increase, accounting for $6.4 million of the budget. The Superior Court is receiving a small increase this year with $473,250, up from $467,000 during the 2017-2018 fiscal year budget.

If approved, the county's fire department will see an additional $81,677 in revenue this year while the sheriff's department would gain an additional $228,563. The public works department would also add an additional $154,093 in revenue this fiscal year.

The recreation department would receive $1,719,580, up $130,484 from last year, if the budget is approved. According to Stephens, the increase in revenue will be used for the new gymnastics center under construction next to county recreation complex on Newnan Road. The new facility is being funded by a regular SPLOST.

An additional $117,000 in funding has been allocated to the tax assessor's office to hire an assistant chief tax appraiser, Stephens said.

Public safety is receiving a $607,730 increase from last year's budget, with the sheriff's department receiving an increase of $228,000. Additionally, the budget shows an increase of $80,000 for the fire department.

Stephens said the county has received a request to provide an additional ambulance for the county. This would add $330,000 to the budget through a five-year contract with West Georgia Ambulance, according to Board of Commissioners Chairman Marty Smith.

Stephens said the increase in the fire department's budget stems from the increase in the overtime budget, costs of uniforms and maintenance costs.

An additional $275,000 in revenue from the county's local option sales tax is also expected, according to Stephens. The county's TSPLOST referendum would start collecting in April 2019, if approved in November. This would bring in $82.5 million over the next five years.

Overall, Stephens said last year's budget provided a surplus of $1.1 million and he anticipates closing the 2018-2019 year with a surplus. Additionally, there is no proposed increase in the millage rate, which has not gone up since 2007.

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