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Officials bracing for budget pain
Retreat focuses on changes, challenges
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Budget woes topped discussion as the Dawson County commission gathered for a retreat at Amicalola Falls State Park.

 

The planning session March 31 allowed commissioners to hear updates from local elected officials, department heads and outside agencies.

 

“It was a good opportunity to communicate with different groups that are associated with the county,” said Commission Chairman Mike Berg. “It gave us an opportunity to share a vision.”

 

Looking forward, commissioners said the county must continue to operate with less money due to the drop in property values and sales tax revenue.

 

“I think [the agencies and departments] have a better understanding of where we are and we have a better understanding of some of the issues they’re having,” Berg said.

 

While several officials highlighted changes they’ve made in an effort to maintain their departments’ budgets, others said budgetary constraints have created hardships.

 

Tax Commissioner Linda Townley said pending sales tax collection changes at the state level could also create additional responsibilities and work.

 

“My staff works a lot of hours a day for no money for (the county), because a lot of the money goes to the state as the state requires,” she said.

 

Several constitutional officers addressed changes in their computer programming in 2010 to save money and increase efficiency.

 

Chief Magistrate Judge Lisa Thurmond switched software providers and is working on a video conferencing program.

 

Sheriff Billy Carlisle implemented a new records management system that eliminates duplicated work.

 

He’s also combined jobs when he could. Additional changes are forthcoming.

 

County Manager Kevin Tanner said nearly everyone is on board with the budgetary issues, and they understand they must be cautious with every county dollar.

 

“I’ve said this before, you can’t do this without a good team,” he said. “Any of these changes, they’re making them within their budgets.”

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