Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

ACC Mayor and Commission pass $360 million budget, but not without controversy

Nicole Jordan

The Athens-Clarke County Mayor and Commission passed a budget for the next fiscal year last night, but not without controversy.

The Commission passed a revised budget that added over $10 million to the mayor’s proposed budget. Most of this additional increase will come from the county’s fund balance. Though the millage rate will stay the same, the total Operating and Capital budget will cost over $350 million.

Commissioners Jesse Houle of the 6th District, Mike Hamby of the 10th District and Dexter Fisher of the 5th District drafted a set of revisions to Mayor Girtz’s proposed budget. Those revisions passed overwhelmingly Wednesday night.

Houle discussed several lines of the budget, including the allocation of over $500,000 for a pay study and raises for sheriff’s deputies. Commissioner Houle:

“That is money to fund higher salaries that we anticipate seeing recommended by that study.”

The budget also provides money for the Board of Elections to print Spanish-language materials and ballots.

Not all members of the commission supported the budget, however. District 7 Commissioner John Culpepper was the only commissioner to vote against it, citing his desire to lower property taxes.

“I was hoping to work with colleagues to find areas to cut the budget to allow for another millage rate reduction. While this CDO doesn’t call for an increase to the millage rate, it does add another $10 million to the mayor’s proposed budget.”

District 9 Commissioner Ovita Thornton also criticized the budget for not lowering the property tax rate, but ultimately voted to pass it.

“I really am not happy with this budget at all. I do think that a millage rate decrease is warranted. I think that we ask a lot from our citizens to pay for.”

The budget will deliver several benefits to county employees next year. Most county employees will see a 4% raise to their salaries, which will cost the county $1.3 million. Public safety officers are set to receive the same pay raise plus overtime increases, which will cost over $3 million.

With the commissioner’s revisions, the county’s expenditures next year will total about $360 million.

Related Content