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Public silent at budget talks
County to revisit shelter later
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Forsyth County News


No one spoke out during a public hearing Thursday on Forsyth County’s 2011 proposed budget.

County Manager Doug Derrer gave a budget presentation to a small and silent gathering.

The proposed budget general fund is balanced at about $88.1 million, an increase from the original 2010 budget of about $79 million.

The budget represents an 8.3 percent increase from the 2010 revised budget, which was about $81.4 million. The revised budget provides a more up-to-date look at the year’s actual expenses.

All but one special revenue and enterprise fund also reflected balanced budgets. The lone exception was the water and sewer fund, which had a potential shortfall of about $4.3 million.

Derrer said officials plan to further evaluate the fund and return with a recommendation on how to close that gap.

The commission is expected to adopt the 2011 budget at its Dec. 2 meeting.

Earlier this year, the preliminary budget revealed a shortfall of about $13.3 million, with about $93.6 million requested and $79 million in projected revenue.

In August, commissioners approved a property tax increase that could generate an estimated $7.5 million.

Restored in the 2011 proposed budget are some employee benefits that had been scaled back in 2010, including three paid holidays and personal leave sell-back.

The 2011 contingency fund, which is used for unforeseen expenses, has been proposed at $1.3 million. Just $50,000 was set aside in 2010.

The proposed budget also includes $575,000 to be put into reserves to begin building up its general fund, which at last check had fallen below the 25 percent of the total budget dictated by policy.

At the end of 2009, the general fund balance was reported to be $14.7 million, though policy would have required it to be about $21 million in 2010.

Also Thursday night, the commission voted 5-0 to appoint Everett Bennett to the local Development Authority. He will fill the unexpired term of John Bryan.

Commissioners also postponed a vote on awarding the design/-build of a county animal shelter to Dec. 2.

About 40 people came to Thursday’s meeting wearing blue to show support for the county building a shelter. Five spoke in favor of the proposal during the public comment portion.