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County gets mixed news on SPLOST
Tax collections meet monthly projection; still short $930K
Liberty County's main operations are based in downtown Hinesville. - photo by File photo

Liberty County’s most recent monthly sales tax revenues met projections for the first time. Documents at the county commissioners meeting Tuesday showed that with lagging income the SPLOST6 funds are short $930,000 overall.

County finance chief Kim McGlothlin told commissioners that to meet the SPLOST6 budget, $750,000 was needed in income every month. But in May when the April figures were reported the income was only $256,000, far less than the $750,000 needed.

The pattern of monthly shortfalls continued until the January report, showing SPLOST in the black for the first time. Even with sales tax collections of $754,383 reported in January, SPLOST is still short of officials’ projections.

McGothlin reported that the county had received about 51 percent of its projected revenue and spent about 53 percent of its budget.

"A few departments are getting ahead on spending," she said.

The county’s juvenile judge has spent more than 90 percent of his $164,000 annual budget.

McGlothlin said the court had needed more reporters and other staff and speculated that counties like Liberty, with its transient and young population, might need more juvenile court services than other counties.

Commissioner Justin Frasier said, "That budget projection is way off."

County Engineer Trent Long reported on the status of several projects including sidewalk installation. Along Highway 196 sidewalk has been put in from the District Attorney’s Office to Live Oak Church Road.

Another phase of sidewalk construction will extend along Highway 196 to Airport Road. Completion is scheduled for April. Sidewalks along Bacon Road are also near completion. A $115,000 contract for roadway striping has been signed and a preconstruction conference is planned soon.

The commissioners approved deeds with the city of Riceboro so that the county can own three acres that are the site of the new Community Action Agency center in Riceboro.

Funding regulations require that the county hold the site. If the land is not used for the CAA center it reverts to the city of Riceboro.

Liberty Regional Medical Center CEO Mike Hester told the commissioners about the continuing problem of patients going to the emergency room with illnesses that are not emergencies. This makes it more difficult to treat true emergencies and is expensive. Hester said emergency room visits account for much of the hospital’s indigent care charges and bad debt write-offs.

Commission Chairman Donald Lovette signed a proclamation designating March 13-17 as Georgia Small Business Week, recognizing the state’s more than 650,000 small businesses.

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