Commissioners to vote on budget Sept. 17
by Sarah Fay Campbell
There was only one public speaker at Thursday's hearing on Coweta County's Fiscal Year 2014 budget — and he didn't say much. Coweta Chief Magistrate Jim Striping presented the commissioners and county staff with "an alternative to the pro-forma budget that was produced for magistrate court."
Stripling did not discuss his alternative budget, other than saying: "I urge your consideration and adoption of it."
A "pro forma" budget is based on potential or expected income, costs, assets or liabilities, as opposed to one based on a budget request.
The commissioners will vote on the FY 2014 budget at the Sept. 17 commission meeting.
The FY 2014 budget is a balanced budget with no millage rate increase. As in the past few years, some money will be taken from the county's "fund balance," a reserve fund that holds roughly $30 million, to do needed projects.
The general fund budget is $62,341,885, up 4.2 percent over last year.
County staffers are predicting an increase in property tax revenues, a decrease in sales tax revenues, a slight increase in the insurance premium tax and a slight increase in fines, forfeitures and fees.
According to Finance Director Hans Wilson, the property tax increase — as well as the sales tax decrease — is mostly related to the state's new motor vehicle tax taxing system. The Title Ad Valorem Tax replaces both the annual "birthday" tax on tags and the sales tax on vehicles. Currently-owned vehicles stay on the old system, but when someone buys a vehicle, it comes under the new system.
Wilson said county officials are hoping the new TAVT tax will make up for the loss of the annual ad valorem tax on cars and the vehicle sales tax.
The fire fund, which funds the Coweta County Fire Department, had to be increased "because of some pension requirements we have to meet," Wilson said.
The fund for the library system is going to be down a bit, Wilson said.
This year's fund for capital projects is projected at $2,611,038, with $1,116,278 funded with current year revenues and $1,449,760 from the fund balance.
Major proposed capital projects to be funded from the general fund include eight new trucks, totaling $322,500; one new ambulance and two remounts at $202,000; a backhoe loader for $100,000; new patrol cars for the Coweta County Sheriff's Office at $300,000; renovations to county facilities totaling $284,350; demolition of the old jail (needed for future sheriff's office expansions) at $110,000; technology infrastructure totaling $303,281; and a solid waste truck for $175,000.
Capital projects to be funded by the Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax and impact fees include $408,000 in fire fighting equipment; $160,000 for lighting at Andrew Bailey Park; $650,000 for soccer field improvements at Central Park; $3 million, over three years, for the new Senoia ball fields; $230,000 for two box dumps; $140,000 for a tandem dump truck; $50,000 for a self-propelled broom for paving projects; $140,000 for an asphalt breakdown roller; and various other road maintenance and improvement projects.
The monies remaining in the 2009 fire bond fund will be used to fund Plymovent exhaust capture systems and industrial floor coatings at existing stations.
There are four items that Wilson is asking the commissioners to consider putting in the budget: money for personnel requests, $2.5 million for the establishment of a capital reserve, $50,000 for West Georgia Technical College, and $14,000 as the local match for the design work for the Chattahoochee Greenway Trails project.