Timely cuts help county ‘weather the storm’
The Stephens County Commissioner’s Court listened to the annual financial report presented by Certified Public Accountant Cameron Gulley during its meeting Monday.
Gulley said the commissioner’s timely actions on a potential revenue downfall in 2017 allowed them to maintain services despite cutting nearly half a million from their 2016 budget.
“The numbers are going to look pretty healthy because you were in front of the curve in cutting costs before the real drop in revenue hit,” Gulley said. “You pretty much have positioned yourself to be able to weather the storm.”
Gulley said the biggest cuts were made last year in public safety with decreasing expenses by $234,000 and general government expenses by $218,000, both mostly due to attrition and personnel cuts.
“Your values this year finally stabilized, but I have a feeling you’re going to feel the squeeze more this fall than you did last fall, cash-wise,” he said. “After that you will pretty much smooth out, but this is going to be the year you feel the massive decline the worst.”
Gulley said during the next few years, negative finances should be expected to level out.
During their meeting, the court adopted the 2017 county tax rate at 0.7516% per $100, a 0.0484 percent decrease from the 0.8% per $100 rate for 2016. This rate is projected to raise more revenue from property taxes by 2.0812%, bringing in $13,001 more than last year.
“I feel great about this,” Precinct 1 Commissioner John “Ed” Russell said. “It’s been a lot of hard work, but everyone did what they had to do to make it work.”