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Newton County approves FY2018 Budget

Post Date:07/26/2017 10:36 AM

budget on table 

Newton County adopted its budget for Fiscal Year 2018 Tuesday night.

During a special called meeting to approve the balanced budget of $59,516,520 in expenditures and a millage rate of 13.44, Newton County Commissioners passed the measure 3-1.

The revenues are an increase over FY2017 but the millage stays the same.

The FY2018 budget includes key priorities set out by the commissioners at the beginning of the budget process — employee raises and building reserves, contingency and fund balance.

Newton County’s sworn officers and fire services employees will receive a market adjustment raise (with employees receiving half effective July and the other half Jan. 1) and the rest of the county’s employees will receive a 3 percent adjustment effective July and a 2 percent adjustment on Jan. 1. The FY2018 budget also includes an increase in the county’s support for employee healthcare.

In its newly approved budget, Newton County increased its cash reserves by $250,000, fund balance by $250,000 and placed $660,791 in contingency.

“The passage of the Fiscal Year 2018 Budget is a testament to the goal this Newton County Board of Commissioners set, even as far back as January, when we first began to come together as a board,” Newton County Chairman Marcello Banes said. “To make Newton County a better place to want to come to work and remain working with, along with providing first-rate public safety is among the many things we strive to accomplish. Thanks to the desire of this board and the hard work and dedication of our finance and human resources staff members we were able to do that in the coming year’s budget.”

The budget was approved 3-1 with District 1 Commissioner Stan Edwards voting against and District 4 Commissioner J.C. Henderson recusing and abstaining due to a conflict of interest pursuant to the ethics ordinance. Henderson needed to recuse himself from voting on a budget which gives money to appropriations such as the Nelson Heights Community Center, in which he is a member of the center’s board of directors.

Edwards voted against the budget after he proposed an alternate option which would reduce the millage rate by .375. His motion for a budget, which would have brought in $889,242 less than the budget that passed and meant a change to raises for public safety employees and no funds placed in contingency, failed 3-1, with his fellow commissioners stating support for the raises and placing money in reserves.

After discussion of both options, the board then came together to vote on the original budget motion that was first proposed by District 2 Commissioner Lanier Sims and seconded by District 5 Commissioner Ronnie Cowan.

“We are committed to diligently work together toward a fiscally responsible and more prosperous Newton County,” Banes said.

The FY2018 Budget was the first in which Newton County used a zero-based budgeting process requiring each department head to only include what they would need for the upcoming year and not go off of what was spent the prior year.

“We believe it’s a more meaningful, more user friendly budget which is easier for the citizens to understand the business of the county,” County Manager Lloyd Kerr said.

To see the approved FY2018 Budget, click here.

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