Stephens Co. Commission Approves FY 14 Budget in Divided Vote

Stephens County Commissioners approve the county’s Fiscal Year 2014 budget.

The county commission approved the budget by a 4-1 vote Tuesday at its meeting.

County Commissioner Dean Scarborough cast the lone vote against the budget.

He said the county needed to shrink the budget more this year.

“I felt we have taken too much out of our reserves, which pretty much takes it all,” said Scarborough. “I still feel like we could have squeezed a little bit harder. Some of our departments came through with what they need to come through (with). Some did not and it is going to make (for) a really tough time next year.”

Previously, Scarborough called the current county government unsustainable based on the amount of revenue the county collects, adding that serious cuts are necessary.

Under the Fiscal Year 2014 budget, the county is using about $1.1 million in available fund balance to cover budget shortfalls this year.

Stephens County Administrator and Finance Director Phyllis Ayers says that leaves less than $400,000 in available fund balance moving forward.

The Fiscal Year 2014 budget Ayers presented totaled about $16.5 million for all funds and $12.9 million for the general fund. Both of those numbers are down from the Fiscal Year 2013 budget.

The proposed budget calls for no change in the millage rate.

According to Ayers, the only change made to the initial proposed budget was the commission’s decision two weeks ago to fund $50,000 to the Stephens County Development Authority.

As part of the Fiscal Year 2014 budget, full-time county employees are set to receive a $300 raise and part-time employees a $100 raise. Also, there are no employee furlough days in the budget.

Ayers says that the budget did cut one employee’s position in data management, while making a full-time probationer part-time. The budget does add a part-time position in the probate judge’s office.

The Fiscal Year 2014 budget takes effect July 1.