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County begins FY2013 budget process
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The county began working in earnest on the fiscal year 2013 budget this week as the finance department began meeting with department heads.

Department heads will continue to review their budgets throughout March, before budget presentations are made to the Newton County Board of Commissioners at April and May work sessions.

The board will have a preliminary budget overview at its annual retreat March 30 and 31; County Manager John Middleton said he will focus on county revenues at the retreat.

Once again, the county is not expected to have preliminary tax digest numbers until late April. Final numbers won't be available until around June 25 when the appeal period ends. The tax digest measures the value of all of the county's land, buildings, vehicles, industrial machinery and equipment, timber, heavy equipment and mobile homes, and along with the county's millage rate, determines how much the county will receive in ad valorem taxes.

A new state law that went into affect last year requires property value assessments to be sent to every taxpayer and extends the appeal period, pushing back the date by which the digest can be finalized. The county's fiscal year budget begins July 1.