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Commissioners review 2024-2025 proposed budget with tax rollback

No tax increase were welcome words for Commissioners and citizens at the presentation of the proposed 2024-2025 budget. The proposed budget includes a proposed rollback to take into account inflationary growth of property valuations to keep property taxes the same as they were last year.
Bulloch County Commissioners met for a work session on Tuesday, May 7, 2024 prior to their regular meeting.  Tom Couch, County Manager presented an overview of the proposed budget that included rolling back the general tax rate.  With the proposed rollback, local property taxes will remain essentially the same as they were in 2023. That includes compensation for any inflation in property values.
Bulloch County is realizing gains in the property digest from organic new growth in development, enabling a rollback of the millage rate. This strategy should set the stage for similar rollbacks in the future that occur in Georgia counties like Bryan and Columbia.
The final tax digest will be approved by the Tax Assessors in July. The County can accommodate marginal digest value changes to adjust the tax rate projection.
Click Here to review Manager Couch's presentation.

Below are highlights from his presentation.

Pay Increases

During the current year, HR conducted a small survey among our peer entities to help determine how similar the County's pay plan is to other similar entities for selected positions. We determined that our pay plan lags slightly behind the market, and HR recommended an across-the-board increase in pay to address this discrepancy. We are recommending an across-the-board increase of 3% for all employees under the County's pay plan. The pay ranges will also be adjusted accordingly to keep the pay plan competitive with starting salaries. There will also be a merit-based increase opportunity, whereby employees can potentially receive up to 2% additional based on their job performance.

Additional Positions

General Fund - 22 FT and 1 PT Positions projected to cost $1,656,460 in salaries and benefits annually, plus additional $621,600 for vehicles, equipment, uniforms, etc.

Public Safety accounts for 16 Positions:

  • Sheriff - 1 Patrol, 6 Jail, 1 Investigations, 3 School Resource Officers (1 Deputy at Portal and 2 Supervisors to provide guidance and backup)
  • EMS - 2 EMT/Paramedics to complete a shift that is currently 1 crew short, 3 Assistant Shift Supervisors to strengthen supervisory capacity

Other Positions include:

  • 3 Solid Waste positions to strengthen program management and handle the growing workload
  • 1 IT Program Manager to fill gaps in county-wide technology management
  • 1 Ag Complex maintenance technician to assist with events
  • 1 Staff Attorney to assist State Court Judge
  • 1 PT Office Assistant for the Clerk of Courts Office 

Rural Fire Fund - 12 FT Positions projected to cost $930,000 annually plus additional $356,420 for vehicle, equipment, uniforms, etc.

  • 9 Fire Apparatus Operators to add a much-needed crew member to each engine 
  • 3 Battalion Chiefs to increase supervisory capacity

Other Highlights

  • Maintains General Fund Contingency of $500,000
  • Adjusted budget for supplies and services as needed due to inflationary increases in many areas
  • A millage rate rollback is recommended, while growth in the digest will allow for added positions to support increasing workload in many departments
  • Fund Balance will be used to balance the budget, while maintaining adequate reserves

Remaining Budget Tasks before Adoption

•Budget Public Hearing – May 30 at 6PM with Adoption on June 18.
•All Special Revenue, Internal Service, and Enterprise Fund budgets are complete except for:
  • Opioid Settlement Fund
  • Accountability Court Fund
•Staff will continue final verification and confirmation of the budget numbers should new information become available.
  • The link to the proposed budget document will update automatically upon staff changes.

Click here to view the 2024-2025 budget proposal

Watch the Live Stream of the budget presentation below