FORSYTH COUNTY -- The Forsyth County commission received positive news this week when members heard an update on the 2017 budget.
During Tuesday’s work session, commissioners were informed next year’s budget is projecting a surplus for general fund items that provide the same services to the community as this year. They voted 5-0 to set the advertised total county millage rate at 8.036 mills – the same as this year.
The projected same-service budget, which does not include any new items, for general fund expenditures is projected at $114.2 million, and the total general fund revenue is expected to come in around $115.8 million.
Both of those numbers are an increase from this year’s general fund expenditures and revenues both $108.92 million.
About $3.5 million in new budget items for the general fund are being sought, leaving the county with a deficit. Those items include new positions, vehicles and other items and will likely be refined to reach a balanced budget, officials said.
The deficit was reduced after the budget committee met with various county departments.
“With all the cuts, reductions and everything that has occurred, we have come from a deficit of about $11 million at the very beginning of the process to now we’re down to about $2 million,” said Dave Gruen, the county’s chief financial officer.
As proposed, public safety is set to receive more than any other department at about $44.6 million, which comes to about 39 percent of the total general fund expenditures.
General government is budgeted at about $30.1 million, or 26 percent of the total.
On the projected revenue side, the largest amount of funding – almost $55 million – will come from real and property taxes, with an additional approximately $29 million from sales taxes. Charges for county services are projected to bring in about $13 million.
Several of the county’s other funds are projected to have balanced budgets, with both expenditures and revenues about: $9.6 million for the local insurance premium tax fund; $2.4 million for the grant fund; $20.9 million for the fire fund, $15.5 million for bonds; $80.9 million for water and sewer; and $2.1 million for recycling and solid waste.
The total millage, which also includes the millage rate of Forsyth County Schools, rate was not announced on Tuesday. The rate for 2016 was 27.804 mills.
A millage rate is used in the formula to calculate property taxes. One mill equals $1 for every $1,000 in assessed property value, and assessed value is 40 percent of the actual market price.
At a recent Board of Education meeting, it was announced the expected millage rate for property taxes to be used for the school system would remain 17.3 mills, the same as the 2016 budget.
The budget committee comprises Gruen, County Manager Doug Derrer, and commissioners Pete Amos, Brian Tam, Todd Levent and Cindy Jones Mills.
The next step in the process will be the committee’s next meeting on June 16.
The budget will come back before commissioners during their June 28 meeting.
In July, citizens are invited to give input during three public hearings on the millage rate before the proposed budget is presented in October and may be adopted in early November.