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Liberty County officials: SPLOST revenues short of projections
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Revenues from the latest Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax are still lagging behind the amount that will be needed for the tax to produce the $54 million local governments are expecting.

Reporting the May figures to county commissioners on Thursday, chief financial officer Kim McGlothlin said SPLOST revenues were about $800,000 short of projections. Commission Chair Donald Lovette said, “The state moved the starting point on us.” 

Unknown to county officials the Department of Revenue was owed more than $100,000 and the money was deducted from Liberty’s first SPLOST check, he said.

McGlothlin then updated commisioners on finances. The May report showed that the county had received 91 percent of its budgeted revenue and that expenditures were at about 84 percent. The county’s fiscal year runs from July to June.

As of May the county had about $2 million in revenues over expenditures but McGlothlin said that surplus would be reduced as bills need to be paid and some county departments’ expenditures are ahead of budget.

She reiterated the perennial shortfall in the juvenile court; it was budgeted $163,000 and has spent $260,000. Juvenile court has overspent its budget for several years. Lovette said much of the extra costs were caused by state requirements for which the state provided little of no funding.

Commissioner Pat Bowen said if the agency was always over budget the county needed to say, “Hey, guys, we need to get a handle on this.” 

McGlothlin and County Administrator Joey Brown said the juvenile court budget had been increased each year for several years but it had not been able to keep up with rising costs.

Law enforcement and emergency management accounts were ahead of budget because of storm responses, McGlothlin said.

Stevens reminded the commissioners that a meeting was needed to discuss paying out of sales tax revenue.

County Engineer Trent Long reported that bids for work on John Wells Road will be opened Tuesday and another set of bids will be needed on the track repairs at the Liberty Independent Troop Park.

A synthetic surface intended to improve the track proved to be too expensive and all bids were rejected. A new set of bids specifying a traditional asphalt surface will be opened next month.

Many county projects have suffered delays because of frequent rains and a 30-day contract extension has been granted to the road striping contractor, NPR South.

In planning and zoning matters, Edward Sikes received permission to build a bar and grill on Islands Highway near the intersection of Fort Morris Road. The commission also approved the sign design for Liberty Regional Medical Center’s East End Clinic. The clinic is scheduled to open Aug. 7.  

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