The proposed $189.5 million budget will be presented to the commission at its meeting Tuesday night where the board is expected to vote on the plan.
The reduction in the budget results from postponing some capital projects, said Commissioner Harry Johnston.
One project is the new branch library planned in the Macedonia community. Local expenditures for that project are now expected to occur in 2014.
Some road improvement projects are also being postponed into 2014, Johnston said.
Johnston says the cuts are in response to citizens’ requests.
“We looked for any way we could cut, to at least get the budget below 2012 levels. This budget accomplishes that, even though it includes increases that are fully funded by user fees. When you look at just the tax-funded portions, the reduction from 2012 is more significant,” Johnston said.
All county departments are operating at bare-bones levels needed to provide the services most people want and expect, he said.
The budget for the primary operating funds remains up less than 1 percent from 2012, though the increases are all in areas funded by user fees and other non-tax revenues, the Post 1 commission said.
“That’s how we’ve kept our property taxes among the lowest in the state. They just can’t go any lower without a sales tax to support operations, like all other Georgia counties except two already have,” Johnston said.
Commission Chair Buzz Ahrens said that the new budget pushes some projects out further.
“When you look at what you can do, and you realize that the library is in there and can be pushed out a bit, that is the decision, to move that out,” Ahrens said.
“We also moved the re-paving of Towne Lake Parkway later in the year and another road project for the new sheriff’s training center back a bit.”
The new budget includes operation of the new county aquatics center that is scheduled to open in May 2013. With users’ fees and expected revenues for naming rights, that center is expected to cover its own operating cost, even in the initial year, Johnston said.
The Board of Commissioners originally proposed a $3.1 million increase in the county’s Fiscal Year 2013 budget of $193 million.
Officials had submitted a budget balanced at $193,028,650, a 1.6 percent increase over the fiscal year’s $189,906,494 budget.
The property tax rate of 9.13 mills would remain unchanged under the proposal
The Board of Commissioners held a public hearing on the original proposal on Oct. 16.
Tuesday’s meeting in Cherokee Hall of the Cherokee County Conference Center at the Bluffs is set for 6 p.m.
The full agenda and budget proposal can be found on the county’s website at cherokeega.com.