County commissioners to consider budget at June 21 meeting

Camden County’s declining fund balance and tax digest, combined with rising public safety expenses, may equal a challenging budget year for 2016-2017. 

During a May public budget hearing, county finance director Mike Fender listed those items as the key challenges facing the board of commissioners as its members consider the new fiscal year budget at 6 p.m. Tuesday, June 21. 

Citizens may offer their comments on the budget to the commissioners at the beginning of the June 21 meeting prior to the vote.

One new expense that Fender highlighted was staffing for the new jail pod and to address courthouse security issues. Estimated at an annual expense of $1.57 million, Sheriff Jim Proctor has requested 44 new hires: nine deputies, 10 jailers and 25 court security deputies. 

The $25.79 million budget for fiscal year 2017 is only about $40,000 more than last fiscal year and lower than budgets set in 2013, 2011, 2010 and 2009. 

Because the value of taxable property in the county’s tax digest has dropped more than 30 percent over the last six years, taxpayers pay more for the same level of services — unless commissioners make adjustments in expenses. 

At the beginning of the budget process, the commissioners had approximately $31.6 million in projected expenses and $25.8 million in projected revenues.  Through a handful of work sessions, expenses have been whittled down by $5.8 million. 

Commissioners will not vote on the millage rate until the tax digest is finalized later this summer.

Tribune & Georgian

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