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Residents Ask Why the Cherokee Commission Can't Cut Its Budget

The county commission on Tuesday held a public hearing for its proposed fiscal year 2013 budget.

Cherokee County Commissioners received mostly critical feedback from residents on its proposed fiscal year 2013 budget.

The county commission held a public hearing during its meeting on Tuesday for the budget, which slated to be approved during the commission's Nov. 6 meeting. A copy of the budget can be viewed on the county's transparency website.

The budget is set at $193 million, a $3.1 million increase from $189 million when compared between Oct. 1, 2011, and Sept. 30, 2012. However, the county's fiscal year 2012 budget was based only on nine months, and totaled $133.7 million.

Canton resident David Hodges said he felt the county needed to "prioritize" its spending.

He noted the county used roughly $4 million in one-time funding sources to plug the gap for fiscal year 2013. He noted 2014 will "be a bad year" if the county has to come to grips with a budget gap in the same amount.

John Hiland of Woodstock was also critical, noting he "tends to look at the big picture."

“The state has been able to reduce spending, but I don’t know why y’all can’t," he said.   

WHAT DO YOU THINK OF THE PROPOSED FISCAL YEAR 2013 BUDGET? TELL IS IN THE COMMENTS!

The county's proposed budget is based upon a millage rate of 9.99. Broken down, that's 5.825 for the general fund, 3.394 for the fire fund and .780 for the parks bond. The rate was raised to the current level in July, which is deemed revenue neutral for the county. 

A home valued at about $165,000 with the standard $5,000 exemption would pay about $590 in county property taxes. Most residents saw no property tax increase as most properties either declined in value or saw its value remain the same. 

County Commissioner Jim Hubbard encouraged residents to send their feedback on the budget before the Nov. 6 meeting.

"We want that information ahead of time," he said. 

Dean Sheridan October 18, 2012 at 01:07 PM
Once again; we get to a place with the BOC where they were told we would be if they did not stop the spending years ago and since. This story is all too familiar, like a broken record. The idea that Jim Hubbard would really be asking folks for their opinion is an insult to every resident of the County. It only cost him his chair, now we all must pay for a long time. Maybe we should buy another $85,000.00 boat this winter to break the ice on a new trend called "Stop the spending"..
Georgia Moderate October 18, 2012 at 11:36 PM
If spending is reduced significantly on infrastructure and public safety, we'll see the little support we have from business dry up completely. And if you want to cut spending on county legal fees, perhaps fewer frivolous lawsuits would be in order. At this point, the inmates are attempting to take over the asylum in this county. Such a shame, this could have been (and still could be) a wonderful place to live. Keep it up, people. I'm not far from putting up a billboard on 575 North at the county line that says "Danger, lunatics at large. Enter at your own risk."
Dean Sheridan October 19, 2012 at 02:52 PM
@Georgia Moderate : Talk is cheep my friend. But the spending has not been. A Leased boat @ lets say $3500.00 (If you want to talk public safety) for monthly seasonal safety concerns would save over 10 years probably the same $85,000.00 they spent. That is the type thinking the BOC must employ on every project until we have a REAL surplus. If we keep letting the BOC spend the way they have and complain about taxes & TSPLOSTS & the rest that is the true definition of "Danger, lunatics at large. Vote for it at your own risk."
Georgia Moderate October 20, 2012 at 09:11 PM
@Dean, not sure where you get a price on a boat for $3500 annual. What's that for, a canoe with a trolling motor? And I have reviewed the BOC budget and spending, and don't see anything that's indicative of gross waste or negligence. Cherokee's tax rate, and their per capita spending, is among the lowest in the state. Are you the type that would spend $100K on a paper clip audit to save $12 annually? While I'm all for due diligence, there is a limit to oversight before diminishing return kicks in. I suspect if your lunatics take charge, we'll have dirt roads, runaway crime rates, no zoning restrictions, fire departments that will let your home burn to the ground, lousy unaccredited schools, and more corruption that you can shake a stick at. We've been there, done that in Cherokee county...not too many years ago. Didn't work then, won't work now.
LittleBrother October 24, 2012 at 12:17 PM
Recently someone spoke at the BOC meeting and said the only things that mattered ere Police, Fire and Education. I'd argue she was well-meaning, but it neglects the fact all of those above services require infrastructure to support them or they'd be rendered fairly useless. So what would you add then as necessary? Certainly the roads they travel on are required. That means Roads and Bridges, Capital Projects, Engineering, Planning, Stormwater, etc. I'm sure you want all those people to probably live in your community instead of traveling from other places to get here (we do need the tax dollars), and that means Building Inspections for their homes, Planning and Zoning to make sure you don't live wedged next to a shopping mall and a auto repair place (unless you don't mind your home values being nil), DSC to ensure the citizens and developers are coming together and following state regulations. Now all of those "non-necessary" services require people to staff, to be supported, so now we have Human Resources, Information Technology Services, Property Management, Secretaries, Receptionists.... Okay that's starting to get up there, but you say you also want a Quality of Life, which is what citizens and government says when they mean parks. Voters approved the parkbond, so we must want parks. Just not the staff to take care of them? Please, take some time, read the budget, form an educated opinion and then return here with something more than one line item of complaint.

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