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County OKs budget
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With a unanimous vote, the Effingham County commissioners approved a fiscal year 2013 budget Thursday night.

Commissioners adopted a budget that is more than $645,000 less than the fiscal year 2012 budget. The county will have a spending plan for $26.4 million for the fiscal year — which began July 1 — after having a budget of $27.05 for FY12. The budget has been reduced each year since a $30 million plan in FY10.

Commissioners also kept the county’s millage rate at 8.558 and approved an overall millage rate of 29.632. The hospital authority had requested a millage rate of 2.35, but commissioners voted to keep the hospital’s millage rate at 1.977.

Commissioner Phil Kieffer was glad the commissioners could keep their portion of the millage rate from rising, even as the property tax digest fell by 9 percent.

“When the digest goes down by 9 percent, that’s a good indication of what the citizens are going through,” he said. “We should try to match that.”

Under the provisions of an agreement that led to the hospital getting Housing and Urban Development approval for its expansion and modernization, the county committed $3.6 million annually to the hospital to cover indigent care. At the approved millage rate, the county expects to provide $2.985 million in property tax revenue to the hospital.