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County gets brief delay for FY12 budget

POSTED: June 23, 2011 6:47 p.m.

Effingham County commissioners aren’t ready to adopt a budget for fiscal year 2012.

Commissioners approved a resolution continuing the current operating budget until county staff can work out the financial details of the recently-adopted service delivery strategy. County commissioners passed a general fund budget of $28.2 million last year.

“We’ve delayed some of the budget process in order to ensure these particular pieces that would affect the budget would come to fruition,” said county finance director Joanna Wright.

There are three stipulations in the resolution. One allows county staff to begin using, recording and funding the appropriate revenue and expense accounts as outlined in the service delivery agreement. Another authorizes county staff to use and apply current general fund budget appropriation levels to those services that eventually will be backed by special service district funds.

The third stipulation allows county staff to make short term inter-fund loans from the special tax district to those special funds for which revenue funding has not been determined.

There also will be no new capital expenditures under the continuing resolution unless approved by the commissioners.

“There would be no capital expenditures during that time,” Wright said, “simply a continuation of operations.”

Commissioners are planning to get a draft of the budget on June 30. Commissioners also are expecting to approve a millage rate soon, and the millage total may increase slightly. Under the agreement with Effingham Hospital in order for it to attain its financing package to back its expansion and modernization, commissioners approved giving the hospital $3.6 million or 2 mills each year.

The hospital’s millage rate is currently 1.977 but the tax digest is expected to shrink, meaning a mill will bring less next year than it did last year.

“Two mills isn’t going to get $3.6 million,” County Administrator David Crawley said.

Wright said projections show the current hospital authority millage rate would be $300,000 short of the $3.6 million target. She said the hospital’s budget showed it’s $229,000 in the black, so that might be used to ameliorate the millage rate hit.

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