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County cancels public budget hearing
Other options on funding county government under consideration
Newton County Administration Building
The Development Services office is in the Newton County Administration Building in downtown Covington. - photo by File Photo

COVINGTON, Ga. The Newton County Board of Commissioners has canceled a public hearing on the county’s fiscal 2019 budget scheduled for Tuesday.

Public Information Officer Bryan Fazio told The Covington News the hearing was canceled while other budget options in addition to the one presented to commissioners during a May 22 work session are being considered.

During that work session, Finance Director Nicole Cross told commissioners a millage hike will be necessary to fund county operations for the next fiscal year.

“Based on the estimates that we have received from our digest and what in this budget our departments have said what need to operate, we would need to have a millage rate increase,” she said, “So the 2018 millage was 13.441.To fully fund this budget as presented, the millage rate would need to increase to 14.441.

“The difference in general fund revenue between the 2 mills is $2.5 million so 1 mill for Newton County is worth $2.558 million.”

This year’s proposed budget is $66,002,334, or 10.37 percent more than last year’s $59,801,770.

Cross said the budget includes $2.4 million in increased salary and benefit costs related to a recent salary market study and a commitment to public safety.

Fazio said there will still be three budget hearings prior to a BOC vote. Commissioners will hold a work session at 6 p.m. Tuesday to talk about the budget and tax assessment policies and procedures.

The work session will be followed by the commission’s regularly scheduled meeting at 7 p.m.

Fazio said only one public hearing is required before the commission passes a budget, and three hearings are required when the commission hikes the millage rate.