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Forsyth finance committee continues 2016 budget work
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Forsyth County News

FORSYTH COUNTY — Forsyth County’s finance committee has continued its review of the preliminary fiscal year 2016 budget this week in preparation for a presentation to the county commission June 9.

“The process in these meetings is where the finance committee reviews in particular, item by item, the new budget item requests, in addition to what we call the same service budget,” said Dave Gruen, finance director. “What this committee does is make recommendations to the [county commission] for when the full board works on the budget.”

Gruen said the committee is also taking a look at equipment requested by various departments.

“The second area … covered is we review the capital items, the equipment items if you will, that are related to the same services budget,” he said.

Current projections set the county budget at $103 million for fiscal year 2016.

Figures reviewed this week show various departments asking for capital replacement items, with $3.4 million coming from the county’s general fund, $2 million from the special revenue fund and $2.3 million from the enterprise fund.

Departments also are seeking new items, with requests for $1.6 million from the enterprise fund, $215,433 from the internal service fund and $4.5 million from the general fund.

The total requested amount was about $14 million, but that figures has declined as the committee has amended the budget.

There can be a delicate balance in deciding what items will go into the budget, and Gruen said the committee takes several items into consideration.

“It’s done, of course, with an eye for balancing the budget, looking at available funding,” he said. “But also each item is looked at as far as the need is concerned.

“I think in my view the need [is] for helping the various departments and offices provide their services to the public, and so we’re really trying to prioritize and measure the importance of the services.”

The next step in the process will be a committee presentation to the commission at a work session Tuesday.

“The full board will get [its] first look at where we stand overall and the budget for 2016,” Gruen said. “… We’ll show the same service budget, estimated revenues, the difference between the two and if there’s a shortfall or not.”

After the commissioners make their recommendation, a few hurdles remain before the budget is accepted.

“In July is when the advertising and the public hearings [begin] for the tax rates,” Gruen said. “Tax rates are set by the end of July. And then later in the year is the adoption of the budget itself, getting down toward October probably.

“The final step is the actual adoption of the budget around September, October or November, any time before the end of the year.”