Gwinnett adopts balanced budget– January 4, 2012
On January 3, the Gwinnett County Board of Commissioners adopted a balanced budget for 2012 that preserves core services and maintains access to amenities such as parks and libraries without anticipating a millage rate increase. The County plans to spend a total of $1.3 billion, compared to $1.5 billion last year.
Commission Chairman Charlotte Nash said the budget complies with all new state and federal mandates but otherwise includes no new or expanded services, no new positions and no pay raises. It also continues a policy of leaving positions that become vacant unfilled for a minimum of 90 days. The County also continues to strictly monitor its fleet vehicles and use existing vehicles longer. Other cuts came in the risk management and worker’s compensation funds made possible by ongoing cost controls.
The cost of daily operations will total $898 million, while capital improvements will cost another $430 million. “We are holding operating expenses down this year, and we’re limiting capital investments to those that will not add significant operating costs,” Nash said. “We still need new facilities like fire stations, police precincts and staffing to support those operations, but they have to be a lower priority in the current economic conditions.”
County officials anticipate an 8.3% drop in the property tax digest this year, the fourth declining year in a row, which would lower property tax revenue to the County’s general fund by $24 million this year. The total value of property in Gwinnett is now about where it was in 2005. A $35 million deficit between projected revenues and expenses existed when 2012 budget planning began, but that gap was eliminated altogether by the time the Board of Commissioners adopted the budget.
Five citizen volunteers worked with Chairman Nash and County staff again this year to review needs and allocate resources using a modified zero-based method that required departments to justify all expenses. Nash released her proposed budget to the public on November 15 and the Board of Commissioners held a public hearing on December 13. The County collected public comments online in 2011 for the first time and shared them with commissioners.
Click here to view the final adopted 2012 budget resolution.