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County budget down 8.8 percent
Purchases limited to necessities for 2011
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Patrol cars are necessities not luxury items, Dawson County Sheriff Billy Carlisle said Monday.


“I have 27 cars that need to be replaced in 2011, five in 2012 and six in 2013,” he said. “But with this economy, I’m happy to be getting the six new cars that are in the budget for next year.”


During a work session Thursday, Dawson County Commission Chairman Mike Berg presented the county’s budgets for 2011-2013.


While the commission reviews the budgets in three-year increments, each spending plan is approved individually the year before it takes effect.


Three public hearings are required before the commission can adopt the 2011 budget.


The hearings, which are open to the public, will be Aug. 19, Sept. 2 and Sept. 16 in the G.L. Pete Gilleland Chambers at the Dawsonville Municipal Complex.


In addition to the six new patrol cars, the $21.8 million average annual budget, which is down about 8.8 percent from the 2010 approved budget, also includes three new pumper trucks for the fire department and two mowers for public works.


For the third year in a row, employees will not receive cost-of-living increases and the county’s hiring freeze will continue.


Berg said only critical positions will be filled.


One new full-time position in court security and three part-time cleaning positions will be created for the new courthouse, which is expected to be completed late next year.


The proposed budgets keep about $3.3 million in the county’s reserve fund balance, or about 15 percent of the total average annual budget.


Dawson County’s school board voted July 6 to keep its portion of the millage rate at 13.646, the same rate its been for the last nine years.


With the county’s portion of 8.138 mills, which was also approved last month, and a bonded amount, the county’s millage rate is 22.184 mills, the same as the past six years.


Continuing the current rate means county landowners will not see a property tax increase in the upcoming year.