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Fulton Board of Commissioners Adopts 2014 Budget | Print |

During a special-called meeting on Monday, January 27, 2014, the Fulton County Board of Commissioners adopted 2014 budgets for the Fulton County General Fund, South Fulton Special Services District Fund, and other funds.

The total adopted General Fund budget is $625,426,997. The total adopted South Fulton Tax District budget is $50,687,386. The Board also maintained a general fund balance of 7.03% representing $43,967,518. The fund balance for the SSD is $500,000.

County Manager Dwight Ferrell said, “Today the Fulton County Board of Commissioners adopted a very progressive budget for FY 2014 that will move the County in the right direction as it continues to work towards right-sizing governmental operations and being more fiscally responsible by identifying cost efficiencies.”

The 2014 budget assumes a millage rate increase of 1.57 mills for the Fulton County General Fund based on the current digest.  This is the first millage rate increase in that fund in at least a decade.  For a homeowner with a residence having a fair market value of $100,000, this increase will cost that homeowner approximately $15.70 annually. 

With this FY 2014 budget the Board of Commissioners:

  • Authorizes the County’s investment in its infrastructure by funding $5.75 million for capital improvements.
  • Affirms their commitment to Grady Hospital with an allocation of approximately $45 million for operating expenses and $16.3 million for debt service payment for a total of $61.3 million.
  • Affirms their commitment to employees with a cost of living increase of 3% and the allocation of funding designated for temporary employees in positions deemed critical to County operations to become permanent. Fulton County employees have not seen a pay increase in seven years.
  • Affirms their commitment to reduce recidivism and support mental health by eliminating proposed reductions to jail diversion programs and adult behavioral health services.
  • Affirms their commitment to public safety by eliminating proposed reductions to the justice system and restoring their funding to the 2013 levels of service.
  • Affirms their commitment to improve the operations of Registration and Elections by approving funding for 2014 elections along with requested enhancements for a total amount of $6.3 million.
  • Affirms their commitment to children and seniors, Fulton’s most vulnerable populations, by eliminating proposed reductions to senior transportation and infant vitality programs.
  • Affirms their commitment to the environment and public health by restoring funding to community health education and County nature centers.
  • Affirms their commitment to improving staffing conditions Countywide by allocating $3.5 million in the payout of accrued vacation time so that vacancies can be advertised and filled expeditiously. This will have a direct impact on staffing at the Fulton County Jail an area of concern identified in the County’s Special Grand Jury Report.
  • Affirms their commitment to arts and culture by reducing proposed cuts to contract for services and allocating $750,000 in that area. The arts continue to receive funding from the County at a level higher than even the state of Georgia’s contribution.

In the South Fulton Tax District, the budget includes several enhancements including funding for:

  • 5 police Officers ($500,000)
  • 10 code enforcement vehicles ($300,000)
  • A soccer field at Wilkerson Mill Park ($200,000)
  • One street sweeper for unincorporated South Fulton
  • One new fire truck ($20,000)

Despite the economic challenges the approved budget also allows for funding to continue in other quality of life programs with the following modifications:

  • Human Services Grants will be funded in the amount of $701,200 for FRESH grants for at risk children and youth programs.
  • Senior Multipurpose Centers will operate under uniform hours from 7:00 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Monday-Friday. Meal costs changes include: Breakfast -$ .50, Lunch-$1.00. Membership dues include $25 for Fulton County residents and $150 for non-County residents. 
  • Libraries will operate 996 hours per week, which remains among the highest weekly operating hours of counties in the metro Atlanta area.

The County Manager has made a commitment to be proactive in preparing for the FY 2015 budget by reviewing current staffing, including determining whether or not to continue with the practice of using temporary employees or instead utilizing contractors for certain services.

Ferrell added, “The County will also have to focus on performance and ensuring the Fulton citizens believe that the County is improving the services that they receive.”

 
 

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