May 26, 2014
Last Tuesday night (5/20/14), the BOC held more budget hearings. Comm. Salmon was absent.
Before breaking for supper that was provided for them (at taxpayer’s expense?), the commissioners discussed Monticello’s disbanding of the Police department and said the city council planned to do away with the Street department as well.
Comm. Trammell said the City didn’t want “policing” and indicated they only wanted the Sheriff to respond to calls, not patrol the city. It was discussed that Monticello doesn’t want to pay, or can’t pay, the county anything for the service, and there were questions about where court would be held, who would collect the money, etc. There were comments that it would cost $500,000 in additional Sheriff costs. The Sheriff has not said this publicly but could have given the BOC this figure. $500,000 is what the City Police Department costs now with all their deputies, clerks, fuel, cars, etc.
Comm. Trammell also said he was disappointed the City had not sat down to talk about this, assuming this to mean doing away with the Police Dep’t and the financial situation the City is in.
Comm. Pennamon said it was time to consolidate—meaning that Monticello and Jasper County would operate as one entity.
See and hear this discussion:
Discussion Part I
Kathy Mudd, editor of the Monticello News, told the BOC that the City had to remain a city until 2020 because of MEAG (utility provider to the City). Comm. Luke commented, “Not if they couldn’t provide services,” and was worried about the City fulfilling its part of the LOST negotiations as well.
Comm. Henry then said the County would have to subsidize the City. There were comments about this. TWG feels there will be a lot more comments about the BOC considering the county supplementing the city as people out in the county, and many in the north part of the county and around the lake who already pay very high taxes, would get even less benefit from their tax dollars if part of them are going to “supplement the city.”
See and hear this part of the discussion:
Discussion Part II
The City of Monticello will be holding a budget hearing on June 2 at 6:30PM. If you attend the City budget meeting, don’t just go and say you don’t want them to do away with the Police Department. Give them ideas—ahead of time to consider—as to how they can save money, what else they could cut, and any other ideas you might have. No one ever wants to cut, but the economic facts are upon us in Jasper County. There is not enough money coming in to support things that were funded before 2009. The City pays almost $20,000 a month in note payments on the Government Complex building.
You can see the proposed consolidated budget and cuts from FY14 here:
Summary of City Budget and Cuts
In addition to other funding shortages, sales tax revenues are down about 20% from what was anticipated. For example, the average SPLOST income was $73,217 per month (April 2012-December 2012); $66,688 for 2013; and so far in 2014 it is only $65,653 per month. The anticipated amount was $83,333 per month. People just don’t have money to spend, and they sure don’t have the money to pay more in property taxes.
Both the City and the County need to cut out things in the budget that are absolutely not necessary or that are not required by law to be funded.