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Commissioners adopt $1.5 billion budget

Gwinnett commissioners adopted a $1.5 billion budget for fiscal year 2016 at their first meeting of the year. With the exception of slight adjustments made to police budget, it mirrors the proposal made in November. Commissioners spent that time reviewing the budget and comments they received during a December public hearing and through an online form.

The adopted budget holds the line on property tax rates while funding services cut during the recession, addressing concerns about workforce recruitment and retention, and investing in essential infrastructure and critical community needs. Gwinnett Commission Chairman Charlotte Nash said, “This budget invests in the big picture, focusing on what’s really important for our community. It also is in line with our history of sustainable, conservative financial management by looking at future implications of today’s decisions.”

The operating budget totals $1.1 billion, compared to $1.05 billion last year. It includes an additional $7.2 million to cover election expenses and expand hours and locations for advance voting. It also unfreezes 25 police positions and restores staff at the animal shelter and in parks maintenance. Library funding is up to 88 percent of its 2008 level and Gwinnett Transit can add three new express routes. Home care and delivered meals are expanded for seniors on waiting lists.

There will be additions to a special victims unit in the District Attorney’s office, 30 new police officers, nine new firefighter/paramedics, 12 new part-time sheriff deputies, three new Juvenile Court positions and another magistrate judge. The budget includes a four percent pay-for-performance increase for eligible employees and the restoration of longevity pay.

The capital budget of $363 million, down from $371 million last year, funds design for a new state patrol building, a courthouse expansion, construction of a new medical examiner/morgue building, senior center renovations and body cameras for police officers and sheriff’s deputies.

Nash again asked five county residents and business people to serve voluntarily on a budget review committee. They heard presentations from elected officials and department directors in September and studied departmental business plans, funding needs and revenue projections with County staff before making recommendations for the 2016 budget.

Departmental budget presentations made to the budget review team may be viewed in the on-demand video section of www.tvgwinnett.com under Budget Review Meetings. Click here to view the adopted 2016 budget resolution or watch a video, Gwinnett County’s 2016 Budget: Investing in the Big Picture.

Check out the following additional resources for more about the 2016 Adopted Budget: