Madison County’s government has started 2014 budget planning.
The county board of commissioners (BOC) heard budget requests from county department heads and constitutional officers July 22-24.
But figures are far from finalized. The only relative certainty is the lack of a tax increase. The BOC hasn’t raised property tax rates in years. And commissioners have given no indication that they want to do that this year. The group also hasn’t received final tax digest — or overall property value — figures. So they can’t make any firm projections on revenues for 2014. If tax rates remain steady, property tax revenues rise or fall with the growth or decline of the digest.
“My thinking is hopefully things will be close to the same as last year,” said commission chairman Anthony Dove of the county digest.
This week’s budget requests included a number of department heads asking for raises for their employees. Government employees haven’t received a raise in five years. County commissioners heard requests for the replacement of aging computers. There was a request for funding for four new sheriff’s patrol cars, for an ambulance, for money for a new sex offender officer (see story) and for a full-time staff member in the Clerk of Superior Court’s office to handle board of equalization duties and offer assistance during superior court proceedings. The recreation department asked for funding to replace aging mowers, Gators and infield machines, along with money for resurfacing cracking tennis courts and parking areas at the main recreation park, along with the replacement of several old scoreboards.
Dove said county commissioners will set a meeting to discuss the requests. No date had been determined as of press time.