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Citizens fill room to speak out against Bulloch County budget increases

On Tuesday, June 20th, the Bulloch County Board of Commissioners held their public hearing on the proposed budget for fiscal year 2024 which is to be adopted next week. Many Bulloch County citizens and business owners spoke out against the proposed budget.

On Tuesday, June 20th, the Bulloch County Board of Commissioners held a public hearing on the proposed budget for fiscal year 2024 which is to be adopted at a special meeting on June 27th. 

The Board has proposed increased for both the General Fund Expenditures and the Special Revenue Funds Expenditures, including increases in employee salaries, additional jobs in several areas including fire, EMS, and police, millage increases for General property tax levies, and the acquisition of funds for building maintenance and new facilities. 

There was lots of discussion on the new Hyundai plant, located in north Bryan County, and the anticipation of future growth that Bulloch County would see as a result. 

The room was filled with Bulloch County citizens and business owners, and eleven citizens spoke out about the budget. 

Cassandra Mikell was one of those eleven citizens who spoke out about the budget. “I’m going to highlight some of the things that stuck out the most, even though I could discuss this for hours. When the budget for the county was released, I was shocked that three years ago there was a 5% overall increase, two years ago there was a 6 ½% increase, and now, all of a sudden there’s a 22% budget increase.” Mikell said at the start of her five-minute time Tuesday night. In closing, she made her opinion on the budget known; “I feel as if it doesn’t matter what you hear from us tonight, the budget is going to be a done deal. I ask for a balanced budget. I ask that you take a real look at what is manageable now and in the future. It’s not too late to revise and move forward with a more conservative spending plan.” 

Several citizens of Bulloch County attempted to help the Board of Commissioners explore other avenues for bringing in more revenue outside of property taxes, while many also believed the budget was too large to begin with. Older residents were concerned about having to dip into their life savings to help compensate for the rising property tax values. 

“We do live in a republic, not a straight democracy – this is our republic. You are our representative. Your decisions have ramifications on the people in this county.” Ken Dowd, another one of the eleven who spoke, said to the Board. 

In response, Chairman Roy Thompson closed with a strong statement. “Several times it has been insinuated that you could vote us out in the next election, but consider this,” Chairman Thompson said, “We didn’t run from you. We answered your questions, and we’re going to try to solve these problems as best as we can.” 

The Budget Adoption Meeting will be Tuesday, June 27, at 8:30 am at the Bulloch County Center for Agriculture.

CLICK HERE to review the 2023-2024 county budget.

Below is a graphic provided by the Bulloch County Board of Commissioners to give an overview of the 2023-2024 budget.