2017-09-21 / Front Page

County sets millage rate, approves general budget

By JANE ELLYN AARON
news editor

This fiscal year’s tax levy was met with approval by the Lincoln County Board of Commissioners, which includes a set millage rate of 10.188, mirroring that of last year’s rollback.

“Based on the $7,003,695 gen­eral fund budget, we had other revenues of $4,337,371, which means we need income from taxes of $2,666,324. In order to do that we have to set the number at 10.188, which is the same rollback rate as last year – based on the digest, which is $261,712,238,” Finance Director Traci Bussey said.

Additionally, the Development Authority millage rate was set at 1 mill, the state rate was set at 0, and the Board of Education was set at 17 mills, which equalled a total tax rate of 31.165 mills.

The board likewise approved the general fund budget for the fiscal year 2018, which totals $7,003,695.

According to Bussey, since the approval of the temporary budget in June, a few changes have been made since receiving the tax digest for this year.

“This budget has changed, it has increased by $10,078.19 – it decreased by $5,000 for the Fort Gordon Alliance dues, we added approximately $11,000 through the September called election,” Bussey said, including that certain grant fees and reimbursements, along with tax collection adjustments, and receiving the tax digest altered the final budget.

Along that same thread, members also voted to alter the terminology of the solid waste fee, and change it to a $5 per month tax, due to stipulations outlined by the Georgia General As­sembly, according to Commission Chairman Walker Norman.

Public Works Director Roby Seymour explained, “This is con­cerning the administrator fee that’s built into our solid waste fee. This fee has been at the same amount since its inception in 2005, it has not changed, so the recommendation is to change that administration fee to a $5 fee per month to be added into the solid waste tax bill for residential curbside garbage pickup.”

In other business, the board voted to enter into a contract with T- Mobile, a Tier 1 carrier, that will occupy one of the four bays on the guyed tower located on Graves Mountain.

As ownership of the tower was re­cently conveyed to the county, those involved have been scouting out providers to inhabit tower space.

A 30-year contract will be entered into with T-Mobile at a value of over $1 million, according to OES Director Casey Broom. The new contract presented to the board will also act as a template, standardizing any future leases, to eliminate the previously used forms, which were “too many,” and “confusing,” the director added.

Furthermore, a marketing fee of $10,000 – around 1.1 percent of the project’s value, accord to Broom – will be paid to President Buddy Robinson of Value Concepts, Inc., who acted as a liaison for T-Mobile and the county.

With two of the bays now inhab­ited, one by T-Mobile, the other by SouthernLINC, two more bays are open for lease.

Shifting gears, Director Broom also highlighted the imminent need to make repairs to the public safety radio system, which has been suffer­ing for a lengthy amount of time.

“We have been enduring an issue with the communications tower,” Broom said. “The coax [transmis­sion line] going to the two towers is 20-plus-years-old.”

According to Broom, there is a fracture in the line that causes sig­nals to become lost, which results in the obvious problems in times of emergency, and even in general communication.

“That takes us out of compliance with FCC regulations, as well as degrades our ability to transmit,” Broom said. “We’re now in a posi­tion where we need to repair the fractured line.”

Due to the cost of the repair, esti­mated at $17,000, the commission declined a vote, but assured that they, along with Broom, are look­ing for the best price possible for the repair.

The repair is still expected to be made within the coming months.

In other business, the board voted to proceed with the abandonment of a portion of Choctaw Road.

Recently, the owner of land par­cels at the back end of the road re­quested that it be closed off to only his access, as he is the only owner of those properties.

Members agreed to hand over the pertinent information to the county’s attorney, and vote of approval will be given at next month’s meeting.

In like fashion, the board ap­proved the partial abandonment of Camp Daniel Marshall Road, with the same stipulations.

This segment of road leads into property owned by the Family Y, and the organization has encountered issues with trespassers.

Furthermore, those with Family Y will have to erect a gate to keep out possible invaders, however the county will be tasked with informing the public of the road closure.

Last, the commissioner approved both a workforce investment grant, along with the Lincoln County Tran­sit Procurement Policy.

The next meeting of the Lincoln County Board of Commissioners will be held on Thursday, October 12, beginning at 6 p.m. in the upper courtroom of the courthouse.

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