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Hall County budget on the upswing, officials say
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The 2014 fiscal year ended on a positive financial note for Hall County government, according to a report officials delivered Friday.

Tax revenues were up slightly for the year, and the county only had to use about $305,000 in general fund reserves out of a budgeted $5.2 million.

A full audit report will be presented at the Board of Commissioners meeting next week, but last year’s trends are holding strong so far this fiscal year, officials said.

Local option sales tax revenue is up 7 percent in the first five months of the 2015 fiscal year compared with the same time period in 2014.  

Moreover, general fund expenses are about 6 percent below budget, and revenues are about $1 million higher overall.

Finance officials said these are “signs of a rebounding economy,” and that the county will continue to “stay the course” in managing its budget.

But there are some rising expenses that county officials are trying to manage.

For example, indigent defense costs in the juvenile court system have already topped $289,000 this year, while just $167,000 was spent in 2014.

In other business, the Board of Commissioners is considering hiring a Spanish language translator for the juvenile court’s victim witness advocate position, as well as adding a special assistant district attorney to handle caseloads at the magistrate’s court.

The board is also considering changes to its flood plain management/flood damage prevention ordinance, which officials said is needed to receive Federal Emergency Management Agency funds.

The board will discuss and vote on these items when it meets at 6 p.m. Feb. 12, at the Hall County Government Center, 2875 Browns Bridge Road in Gainesville.

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