CUMMING, Ga. — The Forsyth County Commission has signed off on the funding portion of operations for the coming fiscal year by agreeing to keep the property tax rate the same as the current year.

At a commission work session earlier this month, County Chief Financial Officer David Gruen presented a proposed spending plan for county operations for the 2020 fiscal year.

The proposed general fund budget of $148 million represents a 6.7 percent increase in spending from the current year. Gruen pointed out that the county’s tax digest — an accounting of the value of all properties within the county — is estimated to increase by about 6 percent this year. This means the county’s current mill levy of 7.936 mills will bring in more tax revenue than last year — about $5 million more. 

Not only that — Gruen estimates revenues from sales tax collections will also climb by nearly 7 percent over last year.

Public hearings on the mill levy, which is proposed to remain unchanged, are scheduled for mid-July.  

Breaking down the budget, which is still subject to change, the county is calling for increases in spending in several departments. Culture and Recreation will grow 7 percent to $18 million. Judicial Services is up a little over 4 percent to nearly $16 million, and General Government Services, which includes administration, information and technology, communications and the Tax Assessor’s Office, is up 10 percent to just over $29 million.

Public Safety — the biggest line item in the budget — is set to increase by 4.4 percent to nearly $52 million. The lion’s share of that, almost $50 million, is allocated to the Sheriff’s Office and includes funding for four additional positions.

The first formal presentation of the 2020 budget won’t be until early September, and a public hearing has been tentatively scheduled for Sept. 13 to provide residents opportunity to speak on the spending plan.

Commissioners are scheduled to formally adopt the finalized budget in early October. 

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