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Fulton County proposes $569 million budget for 2013
by Mary Cosgrove
November 26, 2012 04:33 PM | 2918 views | 0 0 comments | 16 16 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Cuts in departments, salaries and drawing down from the fund balance are the county’s methods for creating a balanced budget for the 2013 fiscal year.

The proposed budget was presented to the Fulton County Board of Commissioners during the Nov. 20 meeting, which is the first step in the budget adoption process.

The proposed $569.4 million budget for fiscal year 2013 is a 6 percent reduction from the 2012 approved budget, Finance Director Patrick O’Connor said.

To get the number down, nearly every department has seen a reduction of at least 2 percent, but most have seen a 5 percent cut.

A $6 million dollar reduction in salary budgets has also been proposed, as has a $7.9 million increase in pension contribution for employees.

The dollar amount for inmate outsourcing has been reduced from 2012’s amount of $2.5 million to $1.5 million.

Additionally, $4 million from the capital improvement fund has been moved over to help balance the budget.

County Manager Zachary Williams said the county’s approach for capital improvements is to only address what immediately needs repairing, such as out-of-order elevators or flooded carpeting.

“That triage process will continue and we will continue to focus solely on the things we absolutely need,” he said.

The county is only expecting to bring in $528 million in revenue for fiscal year 2013, as the commissioners voted to not pass a millage rate increase for the new year.

“The proposed tax rate is 10.281 mils, which is the same rate since fiscal year 2007 and is the lowest rate of all major counties in metro Atlanta,” O’Connor said.

He said he is anticipating a 96 percent collection rate on property taxes.

To close the gap between the expenditures and revenue, the county is proposing drawing down 8.27 percent of the fund balance. The projected beginning fund balance at the start of fiscal year 2013 is $88.5 million, which the county will reduce by $41.4 million to keep the budget in the black.

The budget for unincorporated south Fulton County is $48.5 million, with only $43.3 million being brought in. The expenditures have increased by $3.4 million compared to fiscal year 2012, O’Connor said.

The commissioners voted for a millage rate increase, however, of 10.469 mills to 12.469.

Still, the county will draw from the $5.1 million fund balance, leaving it at a proposed $400,686 by year’s end.

O’Connor did propose some good news — a 4 percent rate reduction for water and sewer customers.

He said he plans to refinance $250 million in water and sewer bond indebtedness, which would save the county $30 million over the course of the 20-year bonds.
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