Budget breakdown: County general fund down, total funds up
by Jessica Loeding
Mar 10, 2013 | 1886 views | 0 0 comments | 17 17 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Thank goodness for an odd year.

With the 2012 election year past, Bartow County’s budget looks a little lighter. Commissioner Steve Taylor, who advocated for “getting the budget under control,” approved Wednesday a total $104,962,400 fiscal plan for 2013.

Overall, the total of all funds changed little from 2012 — up $59,055 from last year’s $104,903,445. The largest change occurred in the general fund, which dropped $342,000 to $61,269,900 for 2013.

The majority of the general fund drop came from a decrease of $239,500 in the elections/registrar budget. The department is allotted $285,700 for 2013 and had received $525,200 in 2012.

“Elections, of course, were last year. Every four years we have elections so their budget shoots up during election year. Of course, it went back down,” explained Chief Financial Officer Jo Taylor on Thursday.

A side-by-side comparison of the 2012 and 2013 financial breakdowns reveals little has changed, with fluctuations apparent in every department.

“A lot [of the drop is] because we don’t have elections, and every year we meet with every department and we just … we cut where we can,” Jo Taylor said.

The largest monetary increases in the budget went to fire services, engineering and magistrate court, each for a different reason.

“Magistrate court, they also were three people down for years, so they are replacing two positions that have been vacant for a long time,” Jo Taylor said of the department’s $82,000 increase.

According to the line item budget, the salary adjustment for magistrate court increased $73,800. The court’s itemized breakdown also showed necessary adjustments to retirement, health insurance and Social Security for the additional positions.

Fire services will use the additional $166,200 for repair and maintenance of the department’s fleet and for new equipment and hoses, Taylor said.

Under the fire service’s line items, the department will spend $51,000 more in 2013 for general supplies. An additional $50,000 will go toward retirement contributions, although the salary schedule is virtually unchanged. As for the repair and maintenance autos and trucks item, the increase for this year is $10,000. Several other areas increased by $5,000 or so, including R&M general equipment, parts for autos and trucks, and education and training.

Engineering increased $102,400 due to shifting of personnel. Salaries increased $66,000, along with the required adjustments for benefits and taxes.

“Engineering went up, and the reason engineering went up — we transferred, which has normally been in non-departmental, the Keep Bartow Beautiful employees, so two employees were transferred from there,” Taylor said. “They also work with [the environmental management] program, so they are going to be working with Lamont [Kiser] in engineering. … Their salaries, along with their expenses, were transferred to his department.”

The addition of the Keep Bartow Beautiful and EvMS program added $35,000. With the move of those two from the county’s non-departmental department, the budget for non-departmental dropped $192,000.

The commissioner’s office also saw a budget increase of $62,200, replacing one of two positions left empty when the economy turned sour. The office also will continue furloughs and offer no pay increases for staff, according to Jo Taylor.

“As for the commissioner’s office, … we are two down in here since the six years we haven’t replaced people and all that,” she said. “… So, this year, we replaced an accounts payable clerk that has been vacant for probably seven years. We also are getting some new computers, a new copier.”

The salary item for the commissioner’s office increased $25,000. Retirement contributions for the department increased $30,000.

Other adjustments for the commissioner’s office included small increases for legal fees, office equipment, travel and education and training.

Outside the general fund, the enterprise fund for the county, which includes the solid waste and water departments, increased $302,000 from 2012. A majority of that amount — $184,000 — was in the water department.

The special revenue fund, covering E-911 fund, hotel-motel tax fund and several others, increased just $10,500. The county rolled the special fees fund, which had been budgeted at $32,500 in 2012, to the general fund for 2013.

An increase of $28,805 was allotted to the special revenue funds under constitutional offices other than the county commissioner — in other words, the law library fund, inmate welfare fund, District Attorney’s Office condemnation fund and drug task force.

Lastly, the debt service funds jumped $59,750 to $20,155,800 for 2013. A look at that fund showed a decrease of $200,000 in the capital lease fund, with an increase of $259,750 shown in the 2008 SPLOST debt service fund.