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County OKs tight budget
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With a subdued holiday spirit, the Bryan County Board of Commissioners approved an operational budget of $16,848,877 at a regular meeting on Tuesday in time for the New Year.

The county’s 2010 budget is a $2,076,000 reduction over last year’s budget of $18,924,877, according to Bryan County Finance Director John Grotheer.

"This budget reflects the challenging times we are confronting," Grotheer told commissioners.

Ad valorem taxes make up 50.99 percent of the revenue for the 2010 budget, the finance director explained.

The commission approved a millage rate of 7.9 mills on Oct. 6. The rate was a .4 increase, less than the one mill increase initially proposed by the county.

Grotheer said 7.9 mills will generate $8,590,824 in revenue.

"The remaining 49.1 percent of the budget is funded by Local Option Sales Tax (LOST), other fees, fines, forfeitures, rent and grants," he said.

Revenues from other county sources, such as building permits and LOST, have already decreased this past year, Grotheer said.

Building permit fees accounted for $300,000 in revenue in the 2009 budget. For 2010, the county finance director estimates building permit fees will only garner $150,000 in revenue.

"Our building permit fees have been nearly cut in half," he said. "Court fees are down. And LOST is down."

The bright spot in the newly adopted budgets are estimated revenues from alcoholic beverage licenses and occupational tax certificates.

Revenues for alcohol permits should rise from $32,000 in 2009 to $44,000 in 2010. Regular business licenses should bring in $55,900 this coming year, up from $48,000 in 2009.

Bryan County Commission Chairman Jimmy Burnsed commented he’d never seen LOST revenues down the way they are now, and added this is what happens in a slow economy.

"People are not spending the money they were spending," Burnsed said. "And let’s face it - that’s what sales tax is all about."

-Read more in the Bryan County News.

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