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Hall commissioners receive upbeat financial update
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The Hall County Board of Commissioners heard an upbeat financial update on its fiscal health at its meeting Thursday.

The presentation by Vickie Neikirk, director of financial services, showed most county departments were operating under budget in 2014 for the first quarter of the year.

There are signs the economy is improving, Neikirk said, pointing to about $230,000 in building permits the county has collected to date compared with the first quarter of fiscal 2013, which was almost $94,000. Revenue from business permits, $22,688, was still down from a high of $59,932 in early 2008.

“It looks like businesses, though, are still struggling,”board Chairman Richard Mecum said.

The county expects to take in more than $87 million in revenue this year, with more than $37 million in property taxes, about $21.5 million in other taxes and $13.1 million in service charges among the largest sources. The county has so far collected about $9.3 million, including $914,566 in property taxes, about $4.4 million in other taxes and $2.2 million in charges. Neikirk said the county spending in most departments was below 25 percent, which was positive. Hall’s savings account, also called fund balance, is also on the upswing, with $14.9 million at the end of fiscal year 2012. The savings are projected to increase by $8 million after the audit of 2013, but most of that was from the sale of a jail to the city of Gainesville.

“That shows that the commission and the departments have done a great job of managing the funds that we have,” she said.

Significant events in the first quarter included settling the special purchase local option sales tax lawsuit with Gainesville, which was basically a wash; settling the local option sales tax talks, which slightly reduced the county percentage of revenue, and breaking ground on two new fire stations.

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