BOC begins dialogue about FY 2021 budget

Photo of “budget” written on a clipboard

Henry County commissioners held their first budget workshop this week to begin discussions about the FY 2021 budget. The 2021 fiscal year begins on July 1.

The February workshop is an earlier introduction to the annual budget than years’ past. As such, all information is preliminary and will undergo further revisions.

The amended FY 2020 budget has expenditures of $163 million providing the base line for next year. Departmental requests, excluding new personnel, would increase the annual budget to $175 million.

It is customary for department requests to result in a high number. The commissioners and county management team will meet with department heads in the upcoming weeks to review department budgets and recommend changes. Other items like increases in health insurance costs and a required pension increase must also be considered.

One possible budget item will be staffing to support a fourth Superior Court judge if the general assembly approves the position. The extra staff would cost Henry County government $786,335 for six months, starting January 1, 2021, if the judgeship is created. That amount would more than double, to include a full year of salary and benefits, in FY 2022.

The draft FY 2021 budget will be presented in April and adopted in May. Public hearings will be held during that time so that residents can comment on the budget.

BOC to consider mid-year budget amendment

The county’s financial team, led by David Smith, also presented a mid-year financial update and briefed the board about a proposed mid-year budget amendment. The board will consider adopting the mid-year adjustment at an upcoming meeting.

General fund revenues for FY 2020 are forecast at $170 million which is a 4% increase over the approved budget. The increase is primarily in local option sales tax and insurance premium tax.

General fund expenditures are forecast at $167 million, or a 2.5% increase, over the FY 2020 budget. The 2.5% increase is driven by the following:

  • Cyber incident costs $663k and other computer maintenance contracts $645k
  • Increased property & liability claims (risk management) $1.3m
  • Additional poll workers during elections $175k
  • Increased budget for road resurfacing and striping $532k
  • Boys & Girls Club payment, Nash Farm ice skating rink, and water shortage (parks and recreation administration) $319k

As of December 31, 2019, the county had collected $133.9 million and spent $78 million. Public safety and courts represent 62.76% of expenditures to date.