By a 5-2 vote, Fulton County Commissioners agreed to a new budget for 2014.
The approved budget provides county employees with a three percent cost of living pay raise, the first increase in seven years. Fulton County Commissioners also approved a $5.75 million dollar investment in infrastructure to fund capital improvement projects.
“We hope this sends a message to our employees that their hard work on behalf of our citizens is greatly appreciated,” said Fulton County Commission Chairman John Eaves, in a media statement.
During a special-called meeting on Monday, the Fulton County Board of Commissioners adopted 2014 budgets for the Fulton County General Fund, South Fulton Special Services District Fund, and other funds. The total adopted General Fund budget is $625,426,997. The total adopted South Fulton Tax District budget is $50,687,386. The Board also maintained a general fund balance of 7.03 percent representing $43,967,518. The fund balance for the SSD is $500,000.
The county remained committed to Grady Memorial Hospital. The budget provides $45 million in operational funding to the health care system.
The press statement said some of the budget’s most significant features come in the area of criminal justice where the county was able to eliminate proposed cuts to the justice system, jail diversion programs and adult behavioral health services. An additional $6.3 million will go to county registration and elections.
The county budget also allows Fulton County to maintain a level of service at Atlanta-Fulton County Libraries better than or on par with its counterparts in neighboring jurisdictions. Funding has also been restored to programs serving Fulton County’s infant children and senior citizens, such as the Dorothy C. Benson Multipurpose Complex in Sandy Springs.
The budget assumes a millage rate increase of 1.57 mills for the Fulton County General Fund based on the current digest. It's the first millage rate increase in that fund in at least a decade, the statement said. For a homeowner with a residence having a fair market value of $100,000, this increase will cost that homeowner approximately $15.70 annually.
“During this budget process economic sacrifices had to be balanced with the need to provide services to our residents,” Eaves said. “The funding is in place to solve many of our current needs.”
Information provided by Darryl Carver and Erika Davis