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County's budget balanced
Final version still could change by fall
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Forsyth County News

Forsyth County commissioners took their first look at a balanced 2012 budget plan Thursday.

Finance Director David Gruen presented the nearly $91.8 million preliminary budget, which assumes no increase in the millage rate for 2012.

In about a month, Gruen told officials during the meeting, the county whittled down its original gap of $3.1 million.

"To get to this point, the expenditures came down about $1.5 million and the revenues came up $1.6 million, almost meeting in the middle," he said.

Finance committee recommendations for cuts and additional trimming by staff brought about the reduction in general fund spending.

The $1.6 million in revenue came from: a swap from the bond to maintenance and operation millage netting $600,000; a $500,000 transfer from the solid waste fund; $300,000 from the county jail fund; and $125,000 from the county reserve fund.

The presented budget assumes that commissioners will adopt the county’s advertised millage rate, which is proposed to stay the same as in 2011.

Despite no change in the property tax rate, a lower tax digest results in $1.3 million less projected for the general fund in 2012 from the previous year.

Commissioners held a public hearing on the millage rate during Thursday’s meeting, but no one spoke.

The commission is expected to adopt the rate at its work session Tuesday.

The final budget, however, is not required to be adopted until the end of 2011.

County plans to adopt its budget on Oct. 20, following a planned Oct. 6 public hearing.

Though a balanced budget was presented Thursday, Gruen said the final version could change in the coming months.

"More information will still come to our attention within the next three months," he said. "During that time, we will be making modifications as needed, keeping the budget balanced at this level."

As it stands, the county has restored paid holidays to employees and set a 3 percent increase for cost of living allowance.

The county’s budget has increased about $3.7 million from the 2011 total of about $88.1 million.

Gruen said about half of that increase will fund the restored employee benefits and COLA.