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County expecting 3% increase in budget
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The proposed $25.8 Liberty County budget for fiscal year 2013 is up 3 percent from this year, according to a Monday presentation by County Finance Officer Kim McGlothlin.

Included in the increase is a 3 percent cost-of-living raise for employees, the first in five years.

Combined salary and wage expenditures increased 4.5 percent, or $489,878. Employee benefits increased 8.2 percent, or $279,980, due to insurance increases, she said.

Revenue is “basically flat,” McGlothlin said, though it is projected to increase 3 percent like expenditures, and its sources have shifted.

Increases in revenue come from selective sales and use taxes such as alcoholic beverage taxes, penalty and interest, business licenses and permits, intergovernmental revenues such as court programs, charges for services, fines and forfeitures and miscellaneous income.

The county anticipates revenue increases for three of the four largest revenue sources: general taxes, charges for services and fines and forfeitures.

Sales-and-use tax, which comprises 14 percent of county revenue, includes a local option sales tax, which is divided among governments based on population. The county share will decrease by 4 percent due to population shifts documented in the 2010 Census. Liberty County’s municipal populations increased more than the population in unincorporated areas.

Other projected revenue increases include business licenses and permits, up $22,000 from $115,000, and miscellaneous income of $117,350, up from $83,440. The miscellaneous revenue comes from rent for county facilities, selling abandoned and surplus goods and more.

Public-safety services account for 40 percent of expenditures, or about $10.3 million. The sheriff’s office, coroner’s office and animal control are under this umbrella.  

General government, or administration, is the second-largest service, accounting for 24 percent or $6.1 million.

Judicial expenditures account for the third-largest, with 16 percent or $4 million, while public works is fourth, with 7 percent or $1.9 million.

There are no capital outlay projects budgeted, and McGlothlin said capital items for departments will be purchased as cash is available.

Chairman John McIver and commissioners Marion Stevens Sr., Connie Thrift and Pat Bowen each thanked the department heads and McGlothlin for keeping expenses lean and foregoing capital requests.

Several department heads were present. No one spoke when the forum was opened for public comment.

The BoC is slated to formally adopt the budget on June 21.

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