2016’s operating budget of $105 million approved

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During Wednesday’s public meeting, Bartow County Commissioner Steve Taylor approved the 2016 operating budget of $105,470,517.14.

“Commissioner, we had the public hearing last week,” Bartow County Administrator Peter Olson said. “Just to briefly summarize, the overall general fund budget is going up 2.4 percent, largely due [to] we’re moving ... the local maintenance and improvement money out of SPLOST [Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax] budgets into this budget. There’s a little bit of raises here and there. The election that’s going to be big this year has increased the election’s budget a good bit. The sheriff’s budget has gone up a half million [dollars] or so due to the pay raise, and we’re still having difficulty filling those positions.“We moved the health department spending out of nondepartmental into indigent services to more accurately reflect the function. So those are the big changes. And we combined building inspections into community development. So that budget goes up, but only because it’s the combination of those two. The overall total of all the fund budgets, including the water department and the special revenue funds, is down about $3 million, largely due to reductions in some of the capital projects that are carried under [Bartow County Water & Sewer Department Superintendent Gene Camp’s] budget. There will be some SPLOST projects that Gene has to do coming up next year. So with that we recommend approval.”Taylor also amended the 2015 operating budget.“Every year as the year closes we have to make sure all the individual departmental budgets are balanced,” Olson said. “If they’ve gone over, then they need to be amended and adjusted. We’re not amending the overall bottom line. We stayed within our total budget for last year. In fact, we came in under as we usually do:“But there were about five specific line item budgets that need to get amended,” he said, referring to Juvenile Court, Public Defender, Community Development and Animal Control seeing increases of $80,000, $66,900, $116,100 and $22,400, respectively. ... “We are amending the nondepartmental budget down because we put a contingency ... in there for emergencies, for disasters and for this kind of event. So we’re just simply reducing that to offset these other four increases. Therefore, the whole general fund budget stays balanced.”He continued, “On the revenue side, there’s four funds that we are amending our revenue budget upward, which is good news, right? ... The hotel-motel fund ... came in about 20 percent higher than we thought it would. So the hotels in the county, their occupancy rates have been very high and their average ... daily room rate has gone up due to, I think, LakePoint is a large factor there:“Also, the solid waste fund did very well this year. It generated $350,000 more revenue than we thought and actually ended up coming in a couple hundred thousand [dollars] under budget. So they’re going to generate about a $500,000 surplus for the year, which we’ll just leave in that fund to carry forward.”In other business, Taylor entered into agreements with PT Solutions Holdings LLC to offer physical therapy treatment and athletic training services to athletes with the Bartow County Parks & Recreation Department, Cirilian Inc. to supply third party Internet software services to the recreation department and the Association of County Commissioners of Georgia Civic Affairs Foundation for grant funding for a summer 2016 internship program; exempted county owned or leased vehicles from decal requirements; and approved the disposal of surplus county property — some of which include two 2005 Ford Crown Victorias, computer towers and a 1999 IBM printer — via GovDeals Inc.