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County budget talks may lead to tax hike
by Noreen Cochran
January 13, 2014 11:38 AM | 1583 views | 0 0 comments | 21 21 recommendations | email to a friend | print
County commissioners and staff last week broached a potential tax increase to fill a $60 million shortfall and restore spending to 2013 levels.

Public speakers and supporters packed the Fulton County government center in Atlanta and spent two hours weighing in on potential 2014 budget cuts during last week’s board of commissioners’ meeting.

The budget, including the general fund, which pays for county operations, may be adopted at the Jan. 22 commission meeting or in a special session before the deadline of Jan. 31.

Representatives from the Benson, Mills, Bowden and Darnell senior centers protested a potential $5 million cut in human services, including senior center funding.

Inez Christian of the H.J. Bowden center in East Point said she and her fellow seniors deserve the 2013 funding level.

“We thought in our senior years the fight would be over. But we find ourselves here today forced to fight all over again, fighting to have a ride to a community center that means so much to us,” she said. “We are asking you to leave the budget alone.”

Facing $3 million in cuts, library supporters included former District 56 State Senator Dan Moody, R-Johns Creek, and former Sandy Springs Planning Commissioner Roger Rupnow.

“We need the budget consideration,” Rupnow said.

The revised proposed general fund budget, slimmed down $60 million from $626 million in November to $569 million, is nearly $3 million less than fiscal 2013.

It bumps up the Grady Memorial Hospital contribution from $25 million to $41 million, but that includes $16 million in debt service.

Commissioners and staff discussed a potential 1.87 mill hospital tax to raise $66 million which would provide $50 million to Grady plus its debt service and restore $41 million to the general fund.

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