During their Work Session on June 3, 2010, Lumpkin County Commissioners get their first look at the 2011 budget proposed by the Budget Committee.
Lumpkin County’s Budget Committee has been reviewing requests from the various county departments and making recommendations since mid-April. Committee members are: County Manager Stan Kelley, Finance Director Allison Martin, Grants Writer Mark French, County Clerk Ruth Bohac and Director of Human Resources Fran Sullens.
During the May Commission Work Session, Kelley and Martin responded to a few questions about the budget from commissioners. Kelley is clearly frustrated with making ends meet. He says he has cut to the bone.
Sales tax revenue is down. Foreclosures and lower sales prices have reduced income from property tax. With tax appeals still to be heard, the actual amount of property tax revenue won’t be known for some time.
County options for a balanced budget are limited to reductions in staff and service or a property tax increase. There is continued pressure on the commissioners to increase property taxes.
Anyone who feels that their own budget has been cut to the bone had better let commissioners know what they would like to see cut from the county budget.
Just for starters, do we need to be expanding the Senior Center during a budget crisis? Seniors do enjoy the place. It is good for their health and well being. The state subsidizes the program. Many volunteers participate to make it work. Yet, the lower level of the Senior Center has never been utilized by seniors. With more office space available for county government when the Justice Center opens, space on the lower level could now be used if expansion is justified.
Should government tax everyone to provide recreation for special groups? Is this not the responsibility of community and/or religious groups? Do we continue turning our responsibilities over to government until we become subjects of a government that makes all decisions for us? Are rights of the individual and personal choice no longer a value? Are we nothing more than robots if government controls our lives?
What do you think of a government that proposes eliminating firefighters, yet, spends county time in preparation to use SPLOST funds for more ball fields?
What do you think of a government that values ball fields over new jobs? The Development Authority was to be allocated SPLOST funds to purchase land for an office park that would provide and promote new jobs. Park and Rec was to be allocated funds for more ball fields. Since it is unlikely funds for both will be available, Chairman Raber insists that the Development Authority take some of the Blackburn Park property instead of using SPLOST funds to purchase land in a better location.
Why are ball fields more important than jobs? Elected officials believe that the folks who want ball fields will be more motivated to help them in the next election than you folks who are only concerned about jobs and making your own ends meet.
At a recent Lumpkin County Homeowners meeting, members said they needed to know more about the county budget before recommending cuts. They did not realize that a Budget Committee creates the budget that commissioners don’t even see until the June 3 Work Session.
Budget cuts based on the actual budget will have been made by the Committee. Any additional budget cuts must be based on the values of the community. What do you value? Speak now or trust government to make decisions for you.
Start talking with your friends about what you want government to do and the choices you prefer to make without government interference. Lumpkin County homeowners will discuss these issues. Read the post about LCHA’s May meeting.
Attend the June 3 Commission Work Session at 9:00 AM in Park & Rec. Hear what they have to say about the budget. Hopefully, copies of the proposed budget will be available for the public.
Commissioners will meet with the Budget Committee on June 7 and 11 to set the final budget.
The millage rate based on the proposed budget will be published on June 30.
July 8 at 6:00 PM PUBLIC HEARING ON PROPOSED BUDGET
July 8 at 7:00 PM PUBLIC HEARING “NOTICE OF PROPERTY TAX INCREASE”
July 12 at 9:00 AM PUBLIC HEARING “NOTICE OF PROPERTY TAX INCREASE”
July 15 at 5:00 PM PUBLIC HEARING “NOTICE OF PROPERTY TAX INCREASE”
July 15 at 6:00 PM BUDGET RESOLUTION ADOPTED and ESTABLISH MILLAGE RATES during this Regular Monthly Meeting
For more information read the following great editorial from The Dahlonega Nugget:
From this article, I learned that Budget Committee Meetings are open to the public. Their meeting schedule is not published because of last minute changes necessary to accommodate department heads.
Sharon Hall and Frank Gilkerson are the only members of the public who have been attending the meetings. No commissioners have attended. I get the impression that commissioners have been told they should wait for their Work Session budget presentation on June 3.
I have been told many times that Lumpkin County Budget Committee meetings were not open to the public. Goes to show, if you don’t like what one person tells you, keep asking until you get the answer you want.
No wonder I don’t trust government.