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Commission moves money, adopts budget
by Mary Cosgrove
January 29, 2013 12:09 PM | 3444 views | 0 0 comments | 7 7 recommendations | email to a friend | print
After siphoning money from various departments and programs, the Fulton County Commissioners were able to restore funds to areas in the county budget that were facing critical cuts, such as homeless programs, libraries, nature centers and the courts.

The first cut the county made was to remove funding for outsourcing inmates. When the jail reaches capacity, the county has, in the past, paid for the inmates to be housed in other surrounding metro Atlanta corrections facilities. Chairman John Eaves said the jail has been consistently under capacity for a year, and that the $700,000 allocated for outsourcing was not necessary.

District 2 Commissioner Robb Pitts was the lone dissenting vote for this cut, stating that it will cost the county much more to bring more beds in house if inmate population exceeds capacity versus outsourcing. He called the measure short-sighted.

“We’re robbing Peter to pay Paul,” he said.

Other cuts included consolidation of the public communications and broadcast divisions within the county for $500,000, consolidating the Fulton County Youth Commission and Global Youth Leadership programs for a savings of $436,000 and cutting $200,000 out of health services transfer fund, which helps fund the county health centers.

The commission also drew down to the 8.33 percent limit in the fund balance from the previous 8.82 percent proposed amount to help balance the budget. This measure added $2.5 million the city could re-appropriate to other departments.

All told, the commissioners were able to re-appropriate a total of $5.24 million.

The accountability courts budget was restored by $250,000, the district attorney’s office was allocated $650,000 and contractor services budgets for arts funding was restored to its 2012 level, which is an additional $251,877.

Pitts requested $1.3 million be allocated to the libraries to avoid any closures.

District 7 Commissioner Bill Edwards asked to have $145,000 allocated to improve signalization at New Hope and Cascade roads, something he called a 10-year project that has never gotten off the ground.

Darnell asked for $105,000 to be allocated for programs dealing in senior hunger in the county, such as home-delivered meals, as well as $38,000 for housing and human service programs for the homeless, disabled and those with HIV/AIDS.

District 3 Commissioner Liz Hausmann asked for $295,000 for the Milton Senior Services, $100,000 for the Chattahoochee Nature Center, and Edwards chimed in a $100,000 request for the South Fulton sister program Cochran Mill Nature Preserve.

After a few other requests were made, the $5.24 million had dwindled to $147,000 that had not been allocated, which the commissioners voted unanimously to return to the fund balance.

The $50.6 million 2013 general fund was then adopted unanimously.

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