The Elbert County Board of Commissioners is trying to do what it takes to have a balanced fiscal year 2015 budget.
During a called work session yesterday evening, County Administrator Bob Thomas said that each county department is being allocated the same amount of funds in FY15 as they did in FY14.
“Hopefully we can come up with enough revenue to have a balanced budget. We have talked to a lot of departments about it, some are okay with it, others are not”, explained Thomas. “At this point I don’t see a lot of change from where we are with our departments.”
The commission also discussed ways to generate revenue by means other than raising taxes on the county’s tax base.
One idea discussed was the possibility of licenses for businesses in the unincorporated areas of the county.
Thomas says a majority of the counties that surround Elbert County have some form of business license requirement in place.
When asked how many businesses were in the county, Thomas estimated there were between 100 and 150.
Commission Chair Tommy Lyon says the county is going to have two choices in the near future, cut some non-essential services or increase the tax base.
“We can either work it by increasing the tax base or by reducing some of the things we are doing”, said Lyon. “Right now, I’d rather take some of the things that we are doing that might be a little inconvenient, but not devastating and reduce those. Because we are going to have some things you are not going to want to take away, like the ambulance service for example.”
No official decisions regarding the budget or business licenses were made yesterday evening as it was only a work session.
The commissioners plan to hold a called meeting next week to approve the fiscal year 2015 budget, which goes into effect on July 1st.