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Lee budget hearings slated

Photo by Barry Levine

Photo by Barry Levine

LEESBURG, Ga. -- The Lee County Commission's Finance Committee has already begun the process of trying to find some $2 million in budget requests to whittle from the proposed $20.388 million Fiscal Year 2011-12 spending plan, but that job will begin in earnest on May 3.

The two-person committee, comprising Bill Williams and Ed Duffy, will start meeting with department heads on May 3 at 2:45 p.m. and will hold six additional sessions before bringing a proposed budget to the full commission for approval.

"The preliminary budget that we're working with is based on the wish lists of county department heads," Duffy, the board's chairman, said.

"Staff has estimated revenues (during FY 2011-12) of $20,388,234, while estimated expenditures now are at $22,474,962. Bill and I will start meeting with department heads the first week of May, and we'll scrutinize every item in the budget.

"The Board of Commissioners has already made the decision not to consider a tax increase because of the weakness of the economy."

Following the May 3 meeting, the Finance Committee has scheduled subsequent meetings on Wednesday, May 4; Thursday, May 5; Friday, May 6; Tuesday, May 10, Wednesday, May 11, and Thursday, May 12. All six of those meetings are scheduled to start at 1:30 p.m.

Meetings will be held in the Kinchafoonee Conference Room at the T. Page Tharp Governmental Building at 102 Starksville Ave. North.

"We expect this process to go smoothly," Duffy said. "The department heads are all aware of the restrictions we're working under. They know they probably won't get everything they're asking for, but the board has an obligation to the taxpayers of the county.

"We've been fortunate enough to balance the budget over the last five years without a tax increase, and we haven't had to lay off or furlough any of our employees. In fact, our employees have gotten cost-of-living increases each of the last three years, and we've been able to add $4 million to our rainy-day fund."

A copy of the county's proposed FY 2011-12 budget is available for review during normal operating hours at the Lee County clerk's office in the County Administration Building and at the Leesburg library branch at 245 Walnut Ave. South.