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Fayette: No tax increase

Fayette County’s proposed 2013-2014 budget will avoid a property tax increase and also will be balanced due to a host of personnel cuts across county departments.

The county has eliminated 32 full-time positions, shrinking the government force to 706 full-time and 13.3 part-time employees. At the same time, the budget has made room for a new information systems analyst for information technology along with an assistant water plant manager as required by the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, officials said.

County Manager Steve Rapson noted that Sheriff Barry Babb stepped up to the plate with cuts, joining his fellow elected officials at the tax commissioner’s office and the clerk of court to find additional savings in the budget.

“We really appreciate their effort in working with us,” Rapson said.

The cuts in the sheriff’s department resulted in a reduction of more than $400,000 between personnel changes, a renegotiated contract for inmate medical services and a redesign of the inmate meals, Rapson said.

The sheriff’s office also only got four new vehicles instead of the 12 requested, as Rapson thinks they won’t have to remove them from the road due to mileage because of the lighter wear and tear on cars that are taken home by deputies.

Babb also announced last week that he plans to discontinue operation of a helicopter that will also provide significant savings in his budget.

In the court clerk’s office, Sheila Studdard found $130,000 in savings through personnel reductions and shrunken services and supplies costs, Rapson said.

The steep reduction in staff for the Marshal’s Office will save $471,000 also, Rapson noted.

The various budget reductions will not impact service delivery to residents, Rapson said.

Rapson also pointed out that Fayette enjoys one of the lowest millage rates among the 18 counties in the state with a population over 100,000. Fayette’s millage rate is only beat by their counterparts in four other counties: Forsyth, Hall, Carroll and Columbia.

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