County finalizing 2018 budget



FORSYTH COUNTY, Ga. — Forsyth County is set to adopt its 2018 budget calling for an 8.4 percent rise in operational spending.

The final public hearing on the spending plan was held Nov. 2, and the County Commission is expected to vote for adoption Nov. 16.

The millage rate — the rate at which property is taxed — is set to remain at 8.036 mills for the county and 19.718 for schools, a total millage rate of 27.754 mills.

By comparison, Hall had a 2016 millage rate of 8.36, Cherokee had 9.054, Paulding had 9.28, Fulton had 10.45, Douglas had 11.267 and Henry had 12.73.

The county’s general fund expenditures are expected to increase to $128 million. The largest share of these operational expenditures – 35 percent – are in Public Safety.

Within that department, ambulance services are down 33 percent and coroner expenses are up nearly 70 percent.

    The breakdown for operational expenses shows:

  • 24 percent goes to general government.
  • 33 percent goes for procurement.
  • 16 percent goes toward training.
  • 13 percent — $16 million — goes to fund culture and recreation ($6 million for library and $10 million for parks and recreation).

Costs are also rising across a number of departments.

Senior services expenses are up 20 percent, community service up 95 percent, district beautification up 32 percent and animal shelter is up 23 percent.

The Board of Commissioners, itself, is expected to see a 4 percent jump in expense, while

Economic Development is anticipated to see costs rise 150 percent.

On the other hand, several departments will see spending drop.

Voter registration will be down nearly 8 percent, accountability court down 8 percent and juvenile court down nearly 2 percent.

Funding for the general fund spending increase will come from an anticipated rise in property values and a jump in county sales tax collections. Overall, forecasts call for an 8 percent increase in tax revenues, including a 9 percent jump for real and personal property taxes and a 6 percent increase from sales taxes.

Taxes take up nearly half of the county’s projected revenue funds, with sales taxes, known as LOST, taking another quarter.

Not all revenues will be up.

The county anticipates an 18 percent decline in grant funding and intergovernmental revenues, as well as a 5 percent decrease in fines and forfeitures.

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