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County adjusts budget calendar
Commissioners agree to delay millage, budget adoptions
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A fiscal year 2014 budget could be finalized and approved in August, after Effingham County commissioners approved an adjusted budget calendar Tuesday.

The county’s fiscal year begins July 1, but the FY14 budget won’t be submitted to commissioners until early next month.

“We had fallen off pace of that,” temporary county administrator Toss Allen said.

Under the revised calendar, commissioners will hold a July 8 workshop on the budget. They also have to hold two public hearings on the proposed millage rate, and if the rate results in a property tax increase, there must be a third hearing on the millage rate.

According to the new budget calendar, commissioners will get a first draft of the budget at their June 18 meeting. Commissioners also are expected to consider a continuing resolution, which would extend the current fiscal year, at that meeting.

Commissioners could get the fiscal year 2014 budget for approval at their July 23 meeting. But any millage rate proposal that is an increase over the rollback rate would push that approval date back, since a third millage rate hearing would be necessary. The third hearing has to be at least seven days after the initial two millage rate hearings.

The county’s property tax digest, which had fallen for three consecutive years, has risen by 1.7 percent. The county’s millage rate has held steady at 8.558 since 2011, and the county levied $13.2 million in property taxes last year. It’s a decrease of more than $2 million from the total they levied in 2008.

Commissioners approved a $26.4 million budget for FY13, a $645,000 decrease from the FY12 budget. Last year’s budget also was not approved by the usual July 1 start date for the fiscal year.

The Effingham County Board of Education is expected to set its millage rate at its June 20 meeting. That date is also the deadline for the commissioners’ next meeting.