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Fayette considering $47.3M budget at Thursday meeting

The Fayette County Commission is not anticipating a property tax increase later this year, and the first public hearing on the proposed 2014-2015 budget will be conducted Thursday night during the commission’s regular meeting at 7 p.m.

The $47.3 million budget includes $5.76 million in water system bond proceeds that will be used to improve the county’s two water treatment plants to improve water quality and meet EPD requirements, County Administrator Steve Rapson said.

The budget also includes $5.8 million in capital projects, among which is $1.5 million to refurbish the “old jail” facility so it can be used to house overflow prisoners.

There is also $297,000 set aside to rehabilitate the exterior of the county’s historic courthouse in downtown Fayetteville and another $150,000 for a “splash pad” addition to McCurry Park east of the city. The splash pad, essentially a cooling-off area with water jets for children to play in, could be ready by next summer if approved in the budget, according to Recreation Director Anita Godbee.

The budget includes $707,000 for a 2 percent cost of living adjustment to employees, who have gone without such a bump since the 2009 fiscal year. County employees can also earn an additional 2 percent one-time incentive for meeting budget expectations in their department, an acknowledgment that fewer employees are providing the same level of service for county residents, according to County Administrator Steve Rapson.

Rapson is proposing to eliminate four full-time jobs due to reorganization but add six full-time personnel including two building permit inspectors necessary to handle the Pinewood Atlanta Studios development, a network administrator for the information systems department, a grants analyst for the finance department and two positions in engineering that were previously paid for by funds from the 2004 transportation sales tax.

The county’s fund balance has risen from $29.1 million to $31.7 million, Rapson said, noting that another $2 million on top of those figures was loaned from the general fund to the stormwater fund to start the highest-priority projects.

The coming year’s budget is predicted to add another half-million to the county’s fund balance as well, Rapson said.

The second public hearing on the budget is slated for Thursday, June 26, and following the hearing the commission is expected to formally adopt the document.

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