After more than an hour and a half debate Thursday over possible cuts to make up a $1.3 million budget deficit, city leaders conceded they have to increase the property taxes by .94 of a mill, though maybe less.
The deficit arose last week when voters rejected renewal of a county proposed special local option sales tax referendum in the Nov. 4 election.
Part of the sales tax would have gone to the city for debt payments and other projects. So city council members Thursday discussed hiring freezes for the Hinesville Police and Fire departments, cuts in capital purchases and even a voluntary 10 percent pay cut of elected city leaders’ pay. That would cut the deficit to $570,924.
Mayor Jim Thomas warned, though, any further budget cuts would require cuts in services and personnel. He asked the council to consider the .94 of a mill increase for, hopefully, no more than one year. Leaders have already decided to put another SPLOST referendum on the ballot in a special election next November.
See Sunday’s Coastal Courier for full details.