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Commission chair says county in ‘good shape’

POSTED: May 16, 2012 4:00 a.m.

Sales tax revenue is up, there are no talks of furlough days and commissioners aren't planning a millage increase for 2013.

"We're in pretty good shape," Dawson County Commission Chair Mike Berg said last week.

Berg was the guest speaker at the May 10 Dawson County Chamber of Commerce luncheon to give his annual State of the County address.

Citing new development like the RaceTrac gas station on Ga. 400, Atlanta Motorsports Park on the westside of the county and the creation of the North Georgia Network fiber optic program, Berg praised the chamber and the local development authority for bringing business to the county.

"The development authority and the chamber do a good job promoting us," he said. "To have that interest in Dawson County is positive."

Berg said the county's 2013 spending plan is likely to be less than this year's $21.6 million budget due to about a 12 percent decline in property tax.

"Thank goodness for North Georgia Premium Outlet mall," he said. "A majority of (1-cent sales tax), 60 to 75 percent, comes from outside the county."

According to Berg, county officials have planned and positioned the county to come out of the recession on top.

"Our best news is that by 2014 to 2015 ... we'll be all but $2 million debt free," he said. "We'll still have about $1 million in water and sewer and about another million for three fire trucks, but that's it. Not many counties can say that."

Berg said the board of commissioners plans to look at revenue later this year and possibly to compensate employees, who have not received raises in the last four years.

He also discussed how the proposed regional transportation tax and legislative mandates could affect Dawson County.

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