After four public hearings and many sessions of discussion, the Bryan County Commissioners set the millage rate at 7.9 during a Tuesday morning meeting in Pembroke. The new rate is a .4 increase and is less than the one mill increase that was originally proposed.
Commissioner and Vice Chairman Toby Roberts, who headed the meeting as Chairman Jimmy Burnsed was out celebrating his 51st wedding anniversary, said they did not raise it a full mill due to the input from the four public hearings.
Roberts said the .4 increase will just cover the $400,000 budget shortfall. He also said the $46,000 Harris Trail extension project, which was on the table during the original rate proposal, will have to wait.
County administrator Phil Jones said the county costs of the 2010 election were excluded in prior budget projections, which creates an additional need for approximately $60,000.
Commissioners agreed to stay on course with a 7.9 rate and find other means to come up with election costs. Commissioner Rick Gardner contemplated both a ten percent cut to the recreation budget, which comes to $108,000, and the elimination of the $65,000 mosquito control program as potential ways to adjust the budget.
"We didn’t come in here with a fat budget that we could cut back on," Gardner said. "It’s already as tight as it can get. Any cuts we make from here will be ones that the public will be able to tell, like brown grass on a rec field or lights off when they’re supposed to be on."
-Read more in the Bryan County News