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BOC gets first look at 2017 budget
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In the preliminary budget introduced to the Newton County Board of Commissioners (BOC) Wednesday, projected revenues for fiscal year 2017 are predicted to be $1,007,844 less than 2016.

Newton County revenues from the 2016 fiscal year were $53,778,505, and for fiscal year 2017 are expected to be $52,770,661.

“The change in that position is due to one major difference,” said Interim County Manager Lloyd Kerr. “That is the $1 million that was budgeted as revenue for last year for sales of the stickers or fees for use of the recycling centers is not budgeted this year. The remainder of that difference is from the change in the motor vehicle title ad valorem tax, which is an additional $300,000.”

With the reduction in projected revenues, Kerr and his staff were encouraged to trim the proposed 2017 budget. Newton County department heads requested $64,662,008, $11,891,347 more than the expected revenues.

“There will be some need for us to go back to department heads that asked for increases and direct them to revise their budgets as they see fit in order to meet those projections,” Kerr said.

Kerr told the board that the proposed budget was made up of what each department wanted, not necessarily what was just needed to operate.

“We have not done any editing or any type of cutting or modifying,” Kerr said. “That is what they sent to us.”

Kerr said his staff will cut some of the requested items from some departments and present another draft to the BOC when it meets for its next budget meeting. The BOC agreed to meet from 6 to 9 p.m. May 10, May 26 and June 6.

Departments that are far above their 2016 budgets will be able to discuss it with the BOC during the three meetings.

“I feel in circumstances that they feel they can’t do their jobs without an increase, I would like to know why,” District 3 Commissioner Nancy Schulz said.