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Tax bill details await digest
Kim McGlothlin  cnty CFO
Kim McGlothlin
Liberty County is keeping a close eye on its pennies since introducing its budget for fiscal year 2008.
The $24-million budget increased only one percent from last year, but the county has deferred items (such as hiring new personnel) until the tax digest is approved in late October or early November by Tax Commissioner Virgil Jones, Chief Financial Officer Kim McGlothlin said.
The deadline to turn in the digest to the state is Aug. 1, but Jones has to wait two or three months for the board of education to calculate its millage rate before he can sign off on it and submit it for approval, he said.
“The millage rate is a rate that we charge against the county digest, which calculates how much money we will receive in property taxes,” McGlothlin said.
There are five local entities that calculate millage rates based on for the digest, including the Liberty County Development Authority, the hospital authority, the city of Hinesville, the board of education and the county.
The reason for the BOE’s delay is unique because it receives millions of dollars in impact fees from the federal government because property on Fort Stewart is off the digest and because the schools teach children affiliated with the military, Jones said.
The BOE waits until other counties turn in their millage rates, and by looking at those numbers, sets the local millage to meet federal requirements, affording more funding in impact fees, Jones said.
The county’s finance committee allocated about $1 million from the fund balance to cover capital items and recurring expenses since the county’s revenue failed to meet its expenditures, McGlothlin said.
She said the county tries to keep three to six months of operating money in the fund balance in case it is needed, especially until the digest is approved.
“The finance committee was fiscally responsible in not over budgeting, and we took the time in identifying areas of critical need,” McGlothlin said.
One of those needs was the purchase of 14 new county vehicles, including an ambulance, she said.
The new fiscal year began on July 1, and it will end next June 30.
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