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2017 Forsyth County budget sent to commissioners with changes
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FORSYTH COUNTY -- After months of preparation, the county’s 2017 budget is headed the Forsyth County Board of Com-missioners.

After discussion and slight adjustments, Forsyth County’s finance committee approved sending next year’s budget to the commission at a meeting on Tuesday. The general revenue fund budget now sits at about $117,124,000 and is expected to have about $275,000 left over in contingency after expenditures.

In June, general fund revenues were estimated at about $116.4 million. The county set the millage rate in July, meaning the tax rate will not increase.

Thursday’s meeting was a chance for members to go over items that have been approved since the committee’s last meetings in August and June.

One of the larger of those expenses is the addition of $500,000 for beautification funds. The county approved $50,000 per year per district to be spent on such projects each year, with this year’s rolling to next year’s budget.

“There may be some spent in the next three months, but in case it’s not, and we’ll adjust it later, we need to re-budget … so this is to add it to the 2017 budget,” Forsyth County CFO Dave Gruen said. “In the next section [of the presentation], you’ll see next year’s $250,000.”

Funds from the Water and Sewer Department will pay for those changes.

Expenditures also saw a reduction of more than $675,000 from reductions in employee healthcare allocations.

Also being considered were four new items for the general fund, along with new items from other funds.

General fund items approved at the meeting were:
• An updated 2017 salary range schedule for all departments worth $93,000
• An additional $130,000 for the Social Services Department to give to area nonprofits
• $79,600 for the Parks Departments to install lightning predictors for parks and a business process analyst position for court administration

The process analyst position was the largest change from the proposal after jumping to $87,000 per year from the originally requested $68,890. Circuit Court Administrator Robin Rooks said the position required IT and legal knowledge and the increased pay would bring more qualified candidates.

“We assume that this position will be able to bring us up to speed in Odyssey [justice software] and make sure we have the ability … to knit together those functions that being when a person is arrested and comes into the justice system, as well as civil filings all the way through until a case is positions,” she said.

For the other funds, the Fire Department had the largest change in approved items, with $37,000 for the salary adjustment and more than $148,000 for a new fire logistics coordinator, vehicle and equip-ment.

Chief Danny Bowman said the logistics coordinator would be tasked with checking the county’s nearly 100 automatic external defibrillators and would be cheaper than hiring an outside vendor.

Since April, the committee was met with various departments and worked to balance the budget.

Commissioners will next discuss the budget at a work session on Oct. 25 and will likely approve it in November.