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Bulloch Commissioners approve FY 2024 budget

The Bulloch County Commissioners approved the fiscal year 2024 budget at a called meeting on Tuesday, June 27, 2023. The approval of the budget does not set the proposed millage rate increase. That will be done in September. Read the story for a full report on the meeting.
Bulloch County Commissioners at the budget adoption meeting

Bulloch County Commissioners met in a called meeting on Tuesday, June 27, 2023 to approve the FY2024 budget.  The commissioners approved the budget unanimously. This does not set the millage rate. The budget is currently based on a 1.75 mil increase. That will be voted on after the tax digest is settled in September.

The commissioners also voted on several contracts that needed to be approved prior to the new fiscal year. 

Read more below.


1. Motion to Adopt Updated Classification and Compensation Plan

In 2018, Bulloch County engaged with The Archer Company to conduct a comprehensive classification and compensation study. Following the completion of that study, the county adopted a new classification and compensation plan to implement the resulting recommendations. Since implementation, we have made periodic adjustments to employee pay rates, in an effort to remain competitive, but have not made other broad changes to the plan.

Last Fall, The Archer Company conducted a market survey and plan evaluation to identify Bulloch County's position in the labor market and to determine whether adjustments were needed. After completing the review, The Archer Company found that Bulloch County pay rates trail those of our competitors, generally, and recommended an 8% across-the-board pay increase for existing employees, which is incorporated in the proposed budget. This will positively impact employee retention and job satisfaction.

In addition, The Archer Company recommended a grade change for a few specific positions which were significantly behind the market and/or which represent significant recruiting challenges. Those positions are: Building Service Technician, Parks Maintenance Worker Sr., Detention Officer, Corrections Officer, Detention Corporal, and County Engineer.

Finally, The Archer Company conducted a new regression analysis and calculated a new proposed pay structure which they have recommended for adoption. The proposed changes to the classification and compensation plan will increase the pay ranges (pay minimums and maximums) for all positions by varying percentages based on the recalculated regression analysis. These changes will benefit employee recruitment by making Bulloch County's pay rates more competitive when compared to our competitors.

2. Motion to authorize the County Manager to execute an agreement with the Georgia Department of Corrections for the FY2024 Capacity Agreement, subject to final approval by the County Attorney.

This agreement is for terms, conditions, and basic components for housing up to 160 inmates per day during FY2024.


APPROVED - 1. Resolution to adopt the FY 2024 General Appropriations Budget and Work Program

APPROVED - 2. Member agreement with IBG insurance network processor


Lawton Sack spoke about the budget that was just passed. He expressed his concerns for the timing of the budget and the way it was presented to the citizens of the county. Sack said that this year's budget goes into a lot less detail than previous budgets. He said more information in a timely manner would allow citizens to review it before the public meetings. At the last public meeting, there were comments made about voting out the current commission. He wanted to clarify that was not meant to be a threat. However, when people get their tax bill and the increase, he said we know who will take the blame for it, especially from citizens who have not been following this process.

Sack said, "We know this budget will require a millage rate increase. I ask that you give the citizens time to review the millage increase, before the vote."

Commission Chair Roy Thompson responded to Sack by saying that the budget process took over six months to complete and included multiple public meetings and public work sessions. Each of those provided opportunities for citizens to be involved in the budget process. He also reminded Sack that there are public comments available at every Commission meeting, where he can always come and ask any questions he may have.

Commissioner Timmy Rushing made a point that Bulloch County has the lowest millage rate of any of the counties that touch Bulloch County.

Lawton Sack responded by saying that sometimes all this feels personal. But the truth of the matter, he said, is that citizens have been dropped with a significant increase to the budget and millage rates. This is not personal, he said, but when you have this type of increase, citizens are going to ask questions. In Sack's opinion, this is a huge increase in one year and will impact citizens.

Commissioner Curt Deal said the county budget increase reflects the growth of the county. Just like when a family grows, the family budget grows. Deal said Bulloch County needs to catch up with the growth of the last five years and be prepared for the future.

Sheriff Noel Brown said that there have been many years that they have been had to do more with less at the BCSO, and now it has caught up with them. The sheriff's department is playing catch up. He said his door at the sheriff's office is always open. "Come anytime and I will tell you where we are at and what we are dealing with. We have 700 square miles that we patrol. We are approaching 40,000 calls this year. As the head law enforcement officer in the county, this is a large job and huge responsibility."

Commissioner Anthony Simmons thanked the sheriff for the department's work in the city this past weekend. He has relatives and friends who live in this area, and they are so grateful for their work.  

Cassandra Mikell told the commissioners that she feels they are discouraging people from even showing up to meetings. It is not personal, she said, noting a 22% increase when it used to be a 5% or 10% increase. She said it sounds like a one person decision and that person, in her opinion, is Tom Couch (Bulloch County Manager). Mikell said it seems like "you don't care about any of us or our concerns."

Commissioner Anthony Simmons reminded Mikell that Tom Couch works for the commissioners. He makes recommendations, and they have to approve it.  

Commissioner Ray Mosely said that this is one of the better vetted budget processes that he has been involved with. The workshops allowed the commissioners to hear directly from department heads. He said they have had calls, meetings, and emails with citizens who are concerned. But these same citizens would be equally concerned if the county could not meet their needs. The initial proposed millage rate was much higher, and the commissioners asked that it to be brought down to what they are proposing now.

Chair Thompson said he is getting emails about how stupid it is to build a building to feed people in the County. They were talking about the Food Bank groundbreaking this morning. To feed hungry people in our community, some people apparently feel is a waste of money. That is very discouraging to the chairman. The Food Bank has to move because their building has been sold. Many agencies and individuals have come together to try and help provide some help for citizens who are hungry.


No additional comments.


After a brief executive session to discuss a personnel matter, the commissioners took no action.

Click Here for meeting agenda and supporting documents