County budget to be adopted New Year’s Eve

News
Towns County GA Budget
HIAWASSEE, Ga. – Towns County Sole Commissioner Cliff Bradshaw will hold a special-called meeting at 10 a.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 31, 2019, to adopt the 2020 county budget. The meeting is open to the public and will take place in the commissioner’s office at the Towns County Courthouse.
Expenditures are set to increase approximately $993,000 in the coming year, with $11, 174,990 in anticipated disbursements. Bradshaw explained on Dec. 23 that he strives to “better and increase services” for the citizens, rather than “take away,” without necessitating a spike for Towns County taxpayers.

An across-the-board hourly pay increase of 50-cents will be given to county employees beginning Jan. 1, increasing the budget by approximately $150K. The cost to the county for the 2020 election cycle is estimated at $50K, and a 911-mapping plotter requires repair, at the expense of roughly $12K. An upgraded ambulance will be added to the EMS fleet, the third since Bradshaw took office. Two new dump trucks are needed for the road department, Bradshaw said last week, as no significant equipment has been purchased for road maintenance in the past 14 years. “We need two dump trucks, for sure, so we put money in the budget to buy one this year and then we’re going to look at doing the SPLOST tax…I don’t want to spend a lot of money on road equipment right now if we can get some of that SPLOST tax because it’s not coming out of the general fund. But they are needing one right now, so we’re putting it in there.” Bradshaw added that although the funds are appropriated, they will not be used unless necessary.

Funding for an additional employee at the Towns County Tax Commissioner’s Office was earmarked, as well as an expenditure for a mandated scanner device for the tax department. An increase in the Towns County Sheriff’s Office budget to furnish two additional deputies was allotted.

“A big chunk of the increase of the budget was the fire department grant, the ambulance, the dump truck, the raises, and the other items that I had mentioned,” Bradshaw said. “I don’t want the taxpayers to think we’re blowing money. We’re not. We wouldn’t even have this in here if we couldn’t cover it, and we’ve got it covered.”

The tentative budget was proposed as follows:
TOWNS COUNTY GENERAL FUND
2020 TENTATIVE BUDGET
JANUARY 1, 2020 THROUGH DECEMBER 31, 2020
BEGINNING BALANCE
4,000,000
REVENUES
10,318,650
BEGINNING BALANCE & REVENUES
14,318,650
EXPENDITURES
11,174,990
ENDING BALANCE
3,143,660
REVENUES
PROPERTY TAX
3,963,000.00
T.A.V.T.
550,000.00
ALTERNATE AD VALOREM TAX
9,000.00
ALTERNATE AD VALOREM TAX FIRE
800
PRIOR YEAR TAX
115,000.00
REAL ESTATE TRANSFER
55,000.00
REAL ESTATE TRANSFER TAX FIRE
3,800.00
CABLE FRANCHISE TAX
40,000.00
LOCAL OPTION SALES TAX
1,575,000.00
BEER AND WINE TAX
85,000.00
LIQUOR TAX
25,000.00
BANK OCCUPATIONAL TAX
11,500.00
INSURANCE PREMIUM TAX
600,000.00
FIRE TAX
363,000.00
PRIOR YEAR FIRE TAX
12,000.00
INTEREST AND PENALTY
35,000.00
Licenses and Permits
PLANNING COMMISSIONER REVENUES
1,500.00
BUILDING INSPECTION FEES
62,000.00
SIGN PERMIT FEES
250.00
BEER/WINE/LIQUOR LICENSE FEES
30,000.00
Intergovernmental
ENOTAH JUDICIAL CIRCUIT REIMB
3,500.00
RURAL SCHOOL GRANT
35,000.00
FIREWISE
5,500.00
GRANT-EMA
18,000.00
SECTION 1 PAYMENT – FOREST SERVICE
125,000.00
FEDERAL TRANSIT ADMIN SECT 5311
50,000.00
PAYMENTS IN LIEU OF TAXES- TVA
14,000.00
EMS TRAUMA EQUIPMENT GRANT
3,500.00
REIMB ENOTAH CIRCUIT
52,000.00
REIMB LUMPKIN CO VICT ASST POSITION
110,000.00
REIMB TC BOE RESOURCE OFFICER
79,000.00
FEMA FIRE DEPT GRANT
310,000.00
Fines and Forfeitures
INDIGENT ATTORNEY FEES REIMBURSED
2,000.00
WINE FINGERPRINT FEES
200
COMMISSION
190,000.00
Interest Income
INTEREST ON DEPOSITS
50,000.00
Miscellaneous Revenue
MISCELLANEOUS SALES
2,500.00
INSURANCE REIMBURSEMENT
5,000.00
FIRE SERVICE INS REIMBURSEMENT
11,000.00
Rx CARD
100.00
AIR FLIGHT INSURANCE REVENUE
5,000.00
L/P-CHATUGE RESORTS
30,000.00
GA MTN FAIR LEASE REIMBURSEMENT
45,000.00
Other Revenue Sources
TRANSFER FROM HOTEL/MOTEL FUND
50,000.00
TRANSFER FROM BVR HOTEL/MOTEL
9,500.00
TOTAL GENERAL FUND REVENUES
10,318,650.00
USE OF FUND BALANCE
856,340.00
11,174,990.00
EXPENDITURES:
General Government
COMMISSIONER
137,100
ELECTIONS
129,575
ADMINISTRATION/GENERAL
736,450
TAX COMMISSIONER
301,850
TAX ASSESSOR
258,400
BOARD OF EQUALIZATION
7,000
COURT SYSTEMS
Regional Expenses
285,500
Clerk of Court
233,150
Probate/Magistrate
257,300
District Attorney
168,000
PUBLIC SAFETY
REGIONAL EXPENSES
240,700
SHERIFF
1,391,200
RESOURCE OFFICERS
113,145
JAIL
1,144,650
FIRE
461,250
FIRE DEPT GRANT EXPENDITURES
325,000
EMS-AMBULANCE SERVICE
1,208,095
AMBULANCE
185,000
EMA DIRECTOR
56,400
911 MAPPING
62,950
PUBLIC WORKS
ROAD DEPARTMENT
768,400
LMIG MATCHING FUNDS
95,500
DUMP TRUCK
150,000
TRANSFER STATION
549,675
RECYCLING
18,875
HEALTH & HUMAN SERVICES
REGIONAL EXPENSES
475,700
TRANSIT
103,900
EXTENSIVE SERVICE ( COUNTY AGENT)
22,000
RECREATION AND CULTURE
REGIONAL EXPENSES
260,300
TOWNS COUNTY PARKS
25,000
RECREATION DEPARTMENT
323,400
CHATUGE CAMPGROUND
97,600
HOUSING & DEVELOPMENT
REGIONAL EXPENSES
54,000
BUILDING INSPECTION
72,275
PLANNING COMMISSION
28,450
CAPITAL EXPENDITURES
EMERGENCY CAPITAL OUTLAY
25,000
TRANSFERS OUT TO OTHER FUNDS
402,200
11,174,990

 

TOWNS COUNTY SPECIAL REVENUE AND CAPITAL FUNDS
2020 TENTATIVE BUDGET
JANUARY 1, 2020 THROUGH DECEMBER 31, 2020
HOTEL/MOTEL
BEGINNING BALANCE PRIVATE 40,000
BEGINNING BALANCE BVR 40,000
REVENUES:
PRIVATE 250,000
BRASSTOWN VALLEY(STATE FACILITY) 95,000
TOTAL BEGINNING BALANCE AND REVENUES 425,000
EXPENDITURES:
ADMINISTRATIVE COSTS BVR 10% 9,500
ADVERTISING BVR 90,000
TOURISM WORKER 22,000
OFFICE EXP 3,000
VISITOR’S CENTER 34,000
CONTRACT WITH CVB BOARD 125,000
TRANSFER TO OTHER FUNDS 50,000
TOTAL EXPENDITURES 333,500
ENDING BALANCE PRIVATE 56,000
ENDING BALANCE BVR 35,500
E 911
Beginning Balance 300,000
REVENUES
PREPAID WIRELESS FEES 215,000
NONPREPAID WIRELESS FEES 36,000
TRANSFER FROM GENERAL FUND 402,200
TOTAL BEGINNING BALANCE AND REVENUES 953,200
EXPENDITURES
215-3800-51-1000 SALARIES 408,000.00
215-3800-51-2100 HEALTH INSURANCE – CO 70,000.00
215-3800-51-2200 PAYROLL TAXES (FICA) 26,500.00
215-3800-51-2210 MAINTENANCE AND REPAIR 20,000.00
215-3800-51-2400 RETIREMENTS 4,500.00
215-3800-51-2600 UNEMPLOYMENT EXPENSE 200
215-3800-52-1130 RADIO EXPENSE 13,000.00
215-3800-52-2200 BUILDING MAINTENANCE 5,000.00
215-3800-52-3200 TELEPHONES 90,000.00
215-3800-52-3500 TRAVEL 1,000.00
215-3800-52-3700 TRAINING 2,000.00
215-3800-52-3900 MISCELLANEOUS 300
215-3800-53-1100 SUPPLIES 4,000.00
215-3800-53-1110 OFFICE EXPENSE 5,000.00
215-3800-53-1200 UTILITIES 10,000.00
215-3800-58-1000 CAPITAL EXPENDITURES 279,000.00
TOTAL EXPENDITURES 938,500.00
ENDING BALANCE 14,700
JAIL FUND
BEGINNING BALANCE 100
REVENUES:
FINES AND FORFEITURES 12,000
TOTAL BEGINNING BALANCE AND REVENUES 12,100
EXPENDITURES:
JAILHOUSE MAINTENANCE 10,000
ENDING BALANCE 2,100
VICTIM’S ASSISTANCE FUND
BEGINNING BALANCE 0
REVENUES:
FINES AND FORFEITURES 10,800
BEGINNING BALANCE AND REVENUES 10,800
EXPENDITURES:
S.A.F.E. 3600
C.A.S.A. 3600
DISTRICT ATTORNEY 3600
TOTAL EXPENDITURES 10800
ENDING BALANCE 0
D.A.T.E. FUND
BEGINNING BALANCE 28,000
REVENUES:
FINES AND FORFEITURES 17,000
TOTAL BEGINNING BALANCE AND REVENUES 45,000
EXPENDITURES:
CHAMPS 11,000
OTHER 20,000
TOTAL EXPENDITURES 31,000
ENDING BALANCE 14,000
LMIG- GRANT FOR ROADS
BEGINNING BALANCE 149,145
REVENUES
LMIG DOT GRANT 318,120
TRANSFER FROM GENERAL FUND 95,500
TOTAL BEGINNING BALANCE AND REVENUES 562,765
EXPENDITURES
LMIG PROJECTS 562,765
ENDING BALANCE 0

Towns County’s 2020 budget to increase $993K

News
2020 budget - Towns County

HIAWASSEE, Ga. – Sole Commissioner Cliff Bradshaw held a called meeting on Monday afternoon, Dec. 23, to discuss the tentative 2020 county budget. The budget adoption will be held on New Year’s Eve at 10 a.m. at the Towns County Courthouse. Expenditures are expected to increase approximately $993,000 in the coming year, with $11, 174,990 in anticipated disbursements. Bradshaw explained that he strives to “better and increase services” for the citizens, rather than “take away,” without necessitating a spike for Towns County taxpayers.

An across-the-board hourly pay increase of 50-cents will be given to county employees beginning Jan. 1, increasing the budget by approximately $150K. The cost to the county for the 2020 election cycle is estimated at $50K, and a 911-mapping plotter requires repair, at the expense of roughly $12K. An upgraded ambulance will be added to the EMS fleet, the third since Bradshaw took office. Two new dump trucks are needed for the road department, Bradshaw said, as no significant equipment has been purchased for road maintenance in the past 14 years. “We need two dump trucks, for sure, so we put money in the budget to buy one this year and then we’re going to look at doing the SPLOST tax…I don’t want to spend a lot of money on road equipment right now if we can get some of that SPLOST tax because it’s not coming out of the general fund. But they are needing one right now, so we’re putting it in there.” Bradshaw added that although the funds are appropriated, they will not be used unless necessary.

Funding for an additional employee at the Towns County Tax Commissioner’s Office was earmarked, as well as an expenditure for a mandated scanner device for the tax department. An increase in the Towns County Sheriff’s Office budget to furnish two additional deputies was allotted.

“A big chunk of the increase of the budget was the fire department grant, the ambulance, the dump truck, the raises, and the other items that I had mentioned,” Bradshaw said. “I don’t want the taxpayers to think we’re blowing money. We’re not. We wouldn’t even have this in here if we couldn’t cover it, and we’ve got it covered.”

Bradshaw described the Towns County budget as “sound,” stating that all county divisions offered input on their department needs throughout the year to correctly calculate the economic blueprint. Towns County Financial Director Andrea Anderson, whom Bradshaw praised for her labor on the budget, attended the meeting.

Although the meeting was open to the public, citizens were not present at the courthouse. While FYN announced the meeting last week, Towns County’s legal organ did not receive sufficient notice to print the information.

Note: FYN requested a digital copy of Towns County’s full budget. A link will be added once received from the commissioner’s office.

2020 budget DRAFT 2             2020 budget for newspaper

Related Archive:

Bradshaw to hold 2020 budget meeting Dec. 23

 

 

Bradshaw to hold 2020 budget meeting Dec. 23

Announcements, News
Towns County budget 2020

HIAWASSEE, Ga. – Towns County Sole Commissioner Cliff Bradshaw announced that a special-called public meeting would be held Monday, Dec. 23, at 4 pm to discuss the 2020 county budget at the Towns County Courthouse. Bradshaw said that Towns County Finance Director Andrea Anderson had been diligently working on the budget for the past several weeks.

“It’s a very hard balance to have enough money to supply all the needs for the different departments. especially public safety,” Commissioner Bradshaw said. “We want to make sure that our EMS service has ambulances that are running and not breaking down, and we have the manpower, womanpower, there to supply the needs. So it’s a fine line balance, but I feel like we’ve done a very good job at it.”

Bradshaw additionally reminded that Towns County tourism continues to boom. Sales tax related to the tourism industry has increased by approximately $3 million since Bradshaw was elected to office in 2016. Bradshaw credited the work of the Towns County-Lake Chatuge Chamber of Commerce, as well as a good economy, for the notable spike in revenue.

Out of 17 counties reviewed, Towns County placed second in terms of growth in 2016, when the study was last conducted. Research reveals an 8.9 percent increase in domestic tourism expenditures in Towns County since 2007. Only Dawson County exceeded Towns, at an increase of 12.7 percent. Overall, the northeast Georgia mountains experienced a 5-percent total growth in tourism in the past decade. In 2016, tourism supported 4,533 jobs in Towns County, generating $11.37 million in payroll. Local tax revenues amounted to $1.33 million.

The public meeting will be held in the commissioner’s office on the ground floor of the county courthouse.

Click here for additional Towns County news.

New propane deal expected to save thousands for county taxpayers

News
commissioner cliff bradshaw

HIAWASSEE, Ga. – Towns County taxpayers will benefit from thousands of dollars in savings over the course of the next year due to a renegotiated gas contract between Suburban Propane and the county. Towns County Commissioner Cliff Bradshaw recently held a special-called meeting to finalize the deal.

An adjusted rate of $1.199 per gallon was reached between the commissioner and the propane distributor for 60,000 gallons of usage during the next year. The per-gallon rate was previously set at $1.85 per gallon, and the savings are expected to reach between $20,000 to $25,000 in 12 months’ time. Bradshaw explained that the exact amount may fluctuate depending on winter temperatures and the resulting need for heating.

Propane is used widespread at county facilities – including the courthouse, annex building, detention center, libraries, fire stations, emergency medical service buildings, civic and recreation centers –  and the cost is annually figured into the budgets of each department.

Bradshaw, a self-professed fiscal conservative, said that he is “always excited to save the taxpayers’ money whenever possible.” Suburban Propane, located in Young Harris, is a nationwide marketer and distributor of a diverse array of energy products.

Featured Image: Towns County Commissioner Cliff Bradshaw

 

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Towns County rings in 2018 under budget with $3.4 million reserve

News
Towns County Courthouse

HIAWASSEE, Ga. – As 2017 nears an end, the Towns County financial report has been released, and a tentative 2018 budget has been calculated. Sole Commissioner Cliff Bradshaw alluded to the positive news during a monthly meeting held in mid-November, confirming the substantial under-budget reserve on Tuesday, Dec. 19, while addressing the citizens at his regularly held monthly session. Towns County concluded the year with an excess of $3.4 million dollars in reserve funds. The tentative budget was presented to the public during a special called meeting which took place on Friday, Dec. 22, 2017.

Commissioner Bradshaw made mention on two separate occasions of his predecessor, former Commissioner Bill Kendall, and his decision to implement an expected surplus while serving past terms, prior to Bradshaw’s election to office. Bradshaw noted Towns County is one of the only debt-free counties in the local region.

Towns County will hold an additional special called meeting on Friday, Dec. 29, at the Towns County Courthouse at 10 a.m. for the purpose of amending the 2017 budget and adopting the 2018 budget.

The 2018 budget is available to view here.

 

Fetch Your News is a hyper local news outlet that attracts more than 300,000 page views and 3.5 million impressions per month in Dawson, Lumpkin, White, Fannin, Gilmer, Pickens, Union, Towns and Murray counties as well as Cherokee County in N.C. – FYNTV attracts approximately 15,000 viewers per week and reaches between 15,000 to 60,000 per week on our Facebook page. – For the most effective, least expensive local advertising, call 706-276-6397 or email us at advertise@FetchYourNews.com

 

Commissioner amends 2018 budget, creates account for sheriff’s office investigations

News
Towns County Budget

HIAWASSEE, Ga.- On the evening of May 15, Towns County Sole Commissioner Cliff Bradshaw announced a resolution to amend the 2018 budget, per abidance of Georgia Law, O.C.G.A. 36-81-3, which requires each unit of government to operate under an annual balanced budget, adopted by ordinance or resolution. The resolution includes a $22,152 shift in revenue, transferred from the Towns County Board of Education, into Towns County Sheriff’s Office capital expenditures. The amendment is the result of a Board of Education reimbursement of 75 percent, calculated from the cost of a patrol car purchased for the county’s school resource officer. Towns County Sheriff’s Office absorbed 25 percent of the expense.

“Donnie Jarrard, the DARE officer at the school, needed a new vehicle. He follows the ball teams – you know, baseball, basketball, football – all over the state of Georgia. When they play in Athens, (or) Monroe, he gets home at one, two, sometimes as late as three o’clock in the morning, unfortunately at times,” Bradshaw explained, “His car was starting to get a lot of problems, and it had a lot of miles on it, so I called the (Towns County School) Superintendent Darren Berrong.” Bradshaw went on to say that the cost of the new vehicle was discussed with Berrong, and a decision to divide the expense was agreed upon, based on the 75/25 ratio that the school board and sheriff’s office expend to employ the school resource officer. “We didn’t have to add any money,” Bradshaw continued, “The money was already there in their budget, so it was a no-brainer.”

In addition, Commissioner Bradshaw authorized the opening of an investigation financial account for Towns County Sheriff’s Office. The resolution states that the Towns County Sheriff’s Office at times has “need of access to operational funds” in order to assist the department with law enforcement and investigative services, benefiting the citizens of Towns County in the most efficient manner. The investigation account will be opened at South State Bank, with Towns County Sheriff’s Office Administrator Vicki Ellis, and Towns County Sheriff’s Captain James Baldwin, listed as authorized signers.

John Paul Peeples

Commissioner Bradshaw presents certification to Towns County Building Inspector John Paul Peebles

“This money that they are going to put into this account is exactly what it says,” Bradshaw said, “It’s an investigation account. They use the money for certain things, to get the bad guys off the streets, and that’s what they’re doing.”

“We don’t want to go too far into detail, you know, and let the bad guys know what they’re doing,” Bradshaw stated.

Commissioner Bradshaw reminded that there will not be a county meeting held in June, as the commissioner will be out-of-town on the scheduled date, with the next session occurring on July 17, at 5:30 p.m. at the Towns County Courthouse.

Bradshaw also noted an increase in residential building permits, elevated from 17 to 31, in comparison to the same time-period last year. Permits for additions rose from 20 to 42 in the similar time frame. Bradshaw believes the spike is a positive indicator of an improving economy.

The commissioner ended the meeting by reminding the public that his door is “always open” to receiving input from the community.

 

Sole Commissioner Cliff Bradshaw updates Towns County, Coach Jimmy Smith retires

News
Coach Jimmy Smith

HIAWASSEE, Ga. – Sole Commissioner Cliff Bradshaw announced several community updates and plans at his monthly meeting at the Towns County Courthouse on the evening of Nov. 21, 2017, before a large turnout of citizens.

Commissioner Bradshaw explained the county is in the process of completing the 2018 budget, and it will read similar to the 2017 quota, with expectations of ultimately landing below budget.

Towns County is set to host the Bassmaster Elite Tournament in September 2018, and the event expects to add an estimated $1 million to $2 million dollars to the local economy. “This is a huge thing for our county,” Commissioner Bradshaw divulged. “Towns County will feel the effects for many years.” The Bassmaster Elite is the highest level of professional bass fishing tournaments offered.

Three detainee road crews completed upkeep on the fire tower located on High Tower, which involved pressure washing the structure and replacing the roof, among other repairs.

The fire department sign on Highway 76, one of the first signs seen when traveling west into Towns County, was replaced with a more appealing version, and the parking lot at Fire Station 1 in Hiawassee was repaved.

Towns County Daycare installed a code pad at their entrance for security purposes. Parents will receive a code, and a doorbell system was added for vendors.

The Georgia Mountain Fair “Mountain Country Christmas in Lights” will open on Thanksgiving night. Commissioner Bradshaw praised the fair’s General Manager, Hilda Thomason: “Hilda has done a great job to grow it each year.”

Approval of the 2018/2019 Federal Transit Grant Application took place. The application amounted to $96,900, half of which will be matched by Towns County. The actual amount awarded may be less as it is dependent on operational costs and based on expenditures for the year. Towns County Transit operates Monday through Friday and provides transportation for residents without vehicles.

A resolution approving the purchase of state-mandated Firefighter Cancer Insurance was read and signed by Commissioner Bradshaw. The insurance was purchased through the ACCG program. Newly elected Hiawassee City Councilwoman Amy Barrett inquired whether future coverage could be acquired locally. The Commissioner replied that the concept is worth exploring.

An application for a grant to fund the development of ADA projects at the Highway 288 Lake Chatuge Recreational property was read and signed by the Commissioner. Handicap ramps, renovation of the parking lot, accessibility for kayaks and canoes and a water trail are expected to be completed. Towns County is requesting $200,000 in funding, but less is anticipated for approval. Towns County will be reimbursed for 80 percent of the total cost and detainee labor will be used accordingly.

Towns County Courthouse

Towns County Courthouse

Last on the new business agenda was approval of the Towns County Sheriff’s Office policy on the implementation and regulation of credit cards for deputies to purchase fuel while transporting inmates out of county. Sheriff Chris Clinton explained the deputies were paying the cost out of pocket, then receiving county reimbursement, prior to the policy’s adoption. Each card is assigned to the transport vehicle’s VIN number. The policy will save the taxpayers the cost of federal and state taxes that were included in out-of-pocket purchases.

The final segment of the commissioner’s meeting was dedicated to the recognition of Towns County Youth Program Coach Jimmy Smith, who is retiring after 21 years of service.

“It is amazing what this man has done,” Commissioner Bradshaw said as he presented the coach with an award. “I can’t say enough. You don’t know the impact you have made on the county and kids.”

“He’s not made a dime to do this. We would not have Little League football if not for Jimmy Smith,” the Commissioner expressed, defining the retiring coach’s love and compassion for children.

Commissioner Bradshaw holds his monthly briefing on the third Tuesday of each month at 5:30 p.m. in the courtroom of the Towns County Courthouse. Public comments and questions are welcome as the meeting concludes. Several citizens praised the commisioner’s efforts in the community as the November session adjourned.

Featured Image: Commissioner Bradshaw presents award of recognition to Coach Smith

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