SCBC will hold final hearing for Proposed Millage Rate increase next week
The Stephens County Board of Commissioners will hold its final public hearing for the proposed millage rate increase next week.
As WNEG News previously reported, the Stephens County Board of Commissioners held the first two public hearings last week.
A third public hearing will be held at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, July 25 prior to the expected adoption of the millage rate by the Board of Commissioners.
At the start of the second public hearing, County Administrator Christian Hamilton outlined the $42.5 million FY24 budget that commissioners recently adopted, and the millage rate increase of 1.64 mills that will result in a total county-only millage rate of 15.69.
Local resident Tom Barnes spoke during the public hearing, saying that he understands that inflation impacts the county as well as individuals, but pointed out that many local residents are struggling financially.
County Finance Director James Elrod responded, clarifying the millage rate increase percentage, and detailing the cuts that were made to the originally-proposed budget.
Elrod, limiting his comments to the county’s general fund, which is funded by property tax revenue, explained that a large portion of the needed increase was prompted by unfunded state mandates passed down by the governor, and explained that employee cost-of-living increases, insurance rate increases and other necessary budgetary requirements added another million dollars to the budget.
Elrod said commissioners and staff went through the budget line by line to trim as much as they could from the budget, and did not use the fund balance to cover expenses in the coming fiscal year.
Elrod stressed that the figures being discussed only include the county’s millage rate, and do not include the school district’s millage rate.
He explained that the state also mandated additional spending for the coming fiscal year for the school district, but that the state was helping to fund those increased expenses for the school system.
For more information on the county’s finances, and to access county financial records and forms, visit stephenscountyga.gov/financial-reports or call Elrod at 706-886-9491, extension 9303.