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Board looks at unpaid holidays, tax rate increases and budget cuts to balance 2010
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The Board of Commissioners looked at several options to close a projected $2.6 million shortfall in the 2010 proposed budget, but did not come to a conclusion by the end of the called meeting on Wednesday morning.

Some of the cuts recommended came from funding for outside agencies, including Rockdale Emergency Relief, Project ReNeWal, mental health programs with the Community Service Board, Rockdale Cares and the Coneyrs-Rockdale Council for the Arts. About $325,138 was reduced from the requested budgets for about 19 agencies.

Roselyn Miller, director of the Finance Department, said each agency would be notified of the board’s recommendations. She added that these cuts alone would not bring the $2.6 million reduction needed.

In a presentation, interim Chief of Staff Holly Bowie presented four possible scenarios to bring the proposed budget down 4.65 percent from $55.8 million to match the projected 2010 revenue of $53.3 million, using a combination of unpaid holidays, budget reductions, and millage rate increases.

One proposal would have five unpaid holidays for all county employees, for a savings of at least $530,000, an increase of the millage rate by 1 mill (or by $1 per $1000 of property value), and no reduction in services or budgets.

The second proposal also had five unpaid holidays, an increase in the millage rate by .5 mills, and a reduction in the budget, except for emergency services, by $1.04 million.

The third proposal had five unpaid holidays, no millage rate increase, and a reduction of the budget, from both the general government and emergency services, by $2.07 million.

The fourth option looked at nine unpaid holidays, for a savings of at least $954,000, and a reduction of the budget, both general government and emergency services, by $1.6 million.

County spokesperson Holly LaFontaine later pointed out that these were just a few possible scenarios drawn up by staff members based on conversations with the commissioners, but that many other scenarios were possible as well.

County employees currently have nine paid holidays, according to Bowie. Commissioner JaNice Van Ness asked about the possibility of closing the county on other days, especially towards the end of the year. Bowie acknowledged it was possible but would require information that she did not have at the moment and pointed out paid holidays were the easiest place to start because the county was already set up to be closed on those days.

The board then went into executive session to discuss personnel matters.

The BOC canceled its Nov. 23 work session and Nov. 24 meeting. The next time it will officially convene is at the Nov. 30 public budget hearing.

For updates, check back to or see the Saturday edition of The Rockdale News.