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Hall County avoids tax increase with cuts
$1.1 million saved by eliminating 28 jobs
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Public hearings

There will be two public hearings on Hall County’s budget for fiscal year 2010:

  • 9 a.m. June 8 in the Courthouse Annex
  • 5 p.m. June 11 in the Georgia Mountains Center

Hall County’s budget for next year includes cuts and employee layoffs within the county but avoids raising taxes.

Hall County Administrator Charley Nix presented the board of commissioners with the fiscal year 2010 budget Wednesday morning, explaining the changes and cost saving procedures put in place.

"I believe it is a good budget that meets our goals for the county," Nix said.

Because of low sales tax collection and other effects of the economy, 28 county jobs were eliminated. The cuts will save the county $1.1 million.

"They’re in departments that are directly being affected by the economy," Nix said. Those employees were notified Wednesday.

Nix said the employees will be paid through the fiscal year, which ends June 30, and will receive help from the human resources department with recommendations and networking.

Fiscal year 2010 will start July 1.

Over the last year, the county has been under a hiring freeze, which has saved $1.3 million on 29 positions. They also eliminated merit increases worth an additional $1 million.

Another cost-saving measure, the mandatory one day per month furlough, will continue in 2010 at a savings of $2.3 million.

Finance Director Michaela Thompson said there was much deliberation on this year’s budget.

"We’re recommending for 2010 a $92.4 million budget," Thompson said. "That
represents a 5 percent reduction from the previous year."

In 2009, Hall County’s budget was $97,729,208. But revenues came in $7.3 million less than expected, creating the need for money-saving measures such as furloughs and a hiring freeze to make up the difference.

In 2010, Thompson said the county is expecting some economic recovery will boost revenues.

"We’re not projecting 2010 to be as low ... as 2009," Thompson said.

Commissioner Ashley Bell said he is nervous about counting on projected revenue.

"We’ve been chasing LOST (local option sales tax) all year long," Bell said. "We’ve got to plan for the worst."

Commission Chairman Tom Oliver said staff will be keeping a close watch on the budget throughout the year.

"If we have to adjust some things we will," Oliver said.

Nix said additional layoffs and furlough days could be possible if revenue collection does not increase in fiscal year 2010.