No tax rate increase is planned for the county government.
But there could be some chopping ahead to balance the 2013 budget.
Madison County commissioners wrapped up meetings with county department heads this past week, hearing requests on next year’s budget. Many department heads asked for pay increases for their employees, who have not received any boost in several years. But commissioners simply listened and didn’t offer any feedback on the requests.
The proposed 2013 budget doesn’t include any notable hikes in the general fund, though a couple of public safety departments are seeking upgrades to equipment in the next year, including the 911 office, which is seeking to use sales tax funds to replace radio equipment that’s been in place since 1999, and the EMS, which is planning to use sales tax money for an ambulance.
Madison County commission chairman Anthony Dove anticipates a reserve fund at the end of 2012 of approximately $5 million. Some of that money may be used to cover an anticipated $900,000 to $1 million shortfall in revenues in next year’s budget, which is projected at $13.6 million. The shortfall is expected due to a projected 10 percent dip in the county digest — or overall property value. Madison County leaders anticipate $6.57 million in local tax revenue to fund next year’s budget, down from the $7.46 million that was actually collected in 2011.
Dove said the county commissioners will meet in coming weeks to discuss how to handle the projected shortfall, though no date for a meeting has been set. He noted that Madison County has roughly 40 percent of its operating revenue in reserves, which is well above the 25 percent the state recommends.