Taylor held the first of two public hearings Feb. 26 and said he looked forward to getting the budget approved after Mother Nature’s interference.
“This is the long-awaited budget hearing that has been delayed due to two snow events,” Taylor said.
The proposed general fund budget has been set at about $64.6 million and County Administrator Peter Olson said while it’s less than 2013’s budget, it does eliminate furlough days and provide for the purchase of new vehicles for the county and the Bartow County Sheriff’s Office.
As in past budgets, the lion’s share goes to the sheriff’s office and according to the budget, Sheriff Clark Millsap’s office is set to receive about $19.8 million.
Taylor said that includes funding for more patrol cars.
The commissioner added that the sheriff’s office was among the departments in dire need of new additions to its fleet.
With most of the sheriff’s office vehicles dating back to 2008, Taylor said the proposed budget includes money for 15 additional vehicles.
“It’s just something that was very necessary,” Taylor said. “At some point, you can’t keep kicking the can down the road.”
No cuts to staff have been made in this budget and Taylor said departments are not hiring new staff, but are filling positions vacated when employees leave.
“There’s not a hiring freeze,” Taylor said. “Through attrition, we’re bare bones.”
Taylor said no raises were included in the budget.
County staff has not had a raise in at least seven years, but Taylor said he may consider looking at a cost of living increase down the road.
“Based on revenues, we’ll have to look at raises at the end of the year,” Taylor said.
A second budget hearing will be held today at 10 a.m. before Taylor approves a final budget.