Rising gas prices add snag in otherwise stable county budget

Published 9:05 am Thursday, May 5, 2022

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The Troup County Board of Commissioners reviewed its FY-2022 budget Tuesday night. The county will adopt its FY-2023 budget in June.

Sonya Conroy, chief financial advisor for Troup County, broke the budget down into positive areas and areas that need improvement. A major negative impact to the budget includes the recent rise in fuel expenses.

“Fuel [expenses] are at 88% [of the yearly budget],” Conroy said. “I project that we will go over [budget] in fuel $125,000 this year.”

Despite this, overall expenses are fairly stable, Conroy said.

“Our expenses are at 72% even after implementing eight percent raises for salary increases across the board,” she said. “As of January [2022], we’re only at 68% of our payroll, which is very good.”

When the county first approved those raises last year, it had 42 open positions to fill, Conroy recalled. Now, the county has about 30 left to fill.

“Even with those open positions, I still feel like it’s helpful that we will be able to absorb those raises this year,” she said.

“We might have to make some minor adjustments to smaller departments that are fully staffed, but overall I think we’re going to be okay with those.”

One such positive, she explained, was that the county’s sales tax had come in strong this year and if the county continues strong throughout the rest of the year, the amount collected will come in 25% above what was budgeted.

“March’s collections were the second-highest ever,” Conroy said.

The real-estate tax has continued to grow as it had in previous years, Conroy added.

Another negative aspect of the budget come in the low amount of service charges and fines and fees payments. Interest rates are still low compared to pre-COVID as well, but they have improved overall.

“They are not where we’d like them to be,” Conroy said. “Those are the results of court proceeds. They’re coming in more frequently, but they are not pre-COVID.”