In an Upson County Board of Commissioners work session on Tuesday July 29, Commission members addressed several budgetary issues.
Commission Chair Glenn Collins, members Steve Hudson, Rusty Blackston, Sandra Trice, and Frank Spraggins were all in attendance.
The 2008 Ad Valorum Property Tax was first up. Due to a tax digest increase, the Commissioners held discussion and a vote to keep the 2007 tax millage rate of 12.72 mills. This will result in a tax hike of $144,000.
Saying that they have already cut “so much” in the past three years, additional cuts could cause a shortfall in the current budget. With this, the vote was 3-1 in favor, with a sole “nay” from Commissioner Blackston.
The 12.72 millage rate will produce $8.5 million and cover the $8.4 million budget. This creates an additional small cushion for any error in re-evaluations of land tracts.
As a result of the increase, three public hearings will be held (based on Georgia legal requirement).
The next budgetary item on the agenda was Capital Expenditures.
Bidding regarding replacement inmate vans resulted in a low bid of $5,000 for 2000-2001 Federal Government vans with approximately 5,000 miles.
The landfill on Po Biddy Road is full and in need of grinding down. Discussion of purchasing a new grinder (about $30,000) ensued. A decision was made to seek bids.
Additionally, stricter controls of dumping will be considered.
The majority of the meeting resulted in much discussion over concerns regarding Recreation Department budgetary issues.
The Recreation Department has requested an additional $151,000 for items including a new truck, lawnmower, tables and chairs, computers for all staff and bathroom repairs.
The discussion extended at length regarding complaints over needed repairs, SPLOST spending, and other budget and spending concerns.
The Commission has faced the Recreation Department’s budgetary concerns before.
Chairman Collins voiced concern, saying, “We give money every year for repairs. That money should be used for maintenance repairs.”
Collins referred to a hole in the roof of the Weaver Park pavilion that was discussed at a previous Commissioners’ meeting and a joint City Council and County Commissioners meeting.
The pavilion has been in a state of ill-repair for the past several years.
The Commissioners agreed there was some confusion over the Rec Department’s plans for their swimming pool.
A $350,000 SPLOST is budgeted for the Rec Department and of the total budget, $500K is budgeted for pool maintenance and repairs of the pool.
When discussing problems with the recreation sports leagues, Commissioner Trice stated that we are ”losing kids to other areas”.
The Commissioners agreed that further investigation as to why this is happening is needed.
“We’ve got to do something,” stated Commissioner Spraggins.
Blackston said, “We ought to look into other programs that are having success with their rec sports programs”.
It was mutually agreed upon that the Commission should and would discuss these issues of concern with Mindy Daniel and Jeff Middlebrooks of the Upson County Civic Center.