Worcester County approves $140.3 million budget
By Bob Lassahn
With little fanfare the Worcester County Commissioners unanimously approved the FY 2005/2006 Operating Budget during the June 7 session. The budget calls for $140,323,629 in appropriations and required the cut of more than $7 million in expenditures to bring it into balance. The real property tax rate of $0.73 per $100 of assessed value (the second lowest in the state) and the Homestead Credit cap of five percent remain in place. No changes occurred in the amounts of Business and Personal Property tax, Public Utility and Railroad tax, Amusement tax and Local Income tax.
The budget provides salary increases for most county employees including a three percent cost of living increase plus a step increment equating to a total increase of 5.5 percent. It also adds new positions to the State Attorney’s Office and Sheriff’s Department, while the Board of Education gains 12 new positions including an assistant principal at Stephen Decatur High School, four new teachers, three new Special Education teachers, two Educational assistants for Special Education and two custodians. Municipalities will see some increases, including an increase of the Towns’ Fire Grant and increases to Fire and Ambulance Companies of $270,229.
The FY 2005/2006 budget represents an increase of nearly $13.2 million in appropriations over the previous year. Increased revenues from real property taxes due to state reassessments at $12.2 million and an increase in income, recordation and transfer tax of nearly $1.9 million are projected.
Commissioner Sonny Bloxom commented that the county is continuing to grow, but at a moderate rate and the commissioners are committed at holding the line on recurring expenditures.
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