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County commission approves budget amendments

LaGRANGE – The Troup County Commission is on track to add to its annual fund balance even with budget amendments this late in the year.

The commission reviewed several amendments to their budget on Tuesday, but because most of the amendments called for fund transfers instead of asking for additional funding, county officials still felt optimistic about this year’s budget.

“When we finish the year, we’ll add $800,000 or better to the fund balance,” said County Financial Officer Hurbert Cashwell.

Commission Chairman Patrick Crews attributed the positive balance to good budgeting, but there were still a number of amendments necessary to keep everything in line. The amendments ranged from $27,000 for use of a law library that the county overlooked in the budgeting process to adding a checking account containing $27,200 under the county’s name to the budget for the Alternate Dispute Resolution Fund because of its use of the county’s taxpayer I.D. number.

The Troup County Recreation Endowment Fund was also added after being left off the original budget. The fund was created with a $7 million gift from the Callaway Foundation in 2002 in order to pay the cost of operating and maintaining recreational additions and improvements coordinated by the Troup County Parks and Recreation Department. The amendment will allow for the transfer of $530,000 between departments so that the funds can be put to their intended use.

“It comes out of the endowment account,” said Cashwell. “It’s the money that we get out of the endowment, so it is a wash.”

The fund is replenished by investment dividends and had $413,111 in revenue listed on the fund’s 2014 charitable tax form (990). The Troup County Recreation Endowment listed $7,741, 921 in assets on the same form.

“(We use it for) operation and maintenance, and we had some – we had saved some over the years, and used it to reroof the (recreation) center most recently,” said County Manager Tod Tentler.

The next budget amendment request was to reallocate $36,500 in funds within the multi-grant fund budget for Planning and Zoning, Juvenile Justice and the Parks and Recreation departments. This amendment will approve a transfer funds, so it will not affect the total budget.

“We are just reallocating some money into Juvenile Justice and to the Parks and Rec,” said Cashwell. “We over allocated money into the community development, zoning and those will offset, get us back on track.”

Finally, the commission reviewed requests for $24,000 in additional funding for 911, a $2,400 increase in SPLOST debt service expenses and a total year end expenditure increase to the general fund budget of $416,450. The general fund amendment was mostly due to employee benefits, overtime, coroner trip charges and other categories that went over what the county had originally budgeted for those categories. The county spent $6 million dollars on insurance this year, according to Tentler.

“What happened this year is, the good news is we came in with $1.4 million under budget,” said Tentler. “The bad news is our health care came in about $400 thousand over budget.”

The full budget will be reviewed by auditors and commissioners on Dec. 30 to make sure it is is correct.

The commission also approved a resolution to reappoint Wayne Bartley and Carol Smith to the board of assessors at the meeting.

For a full breakdown of the budget amendments see the Dec. 8 agenda at http://troupcountyga.iqm2.com/Citizens/Calendar.aspx. The next Troup County Commission meeting is scheduled for Dec. 20 at 9 a.m. at 100 Ridley Ave.