County faces $31 million budget shortfall in 2011

LAWRENCEVILLE -- Thanks to special tax bills sent out this March, commissioners have enough to balance this year's budget.

But with property values dropping, officials will have a $31 million budget gap to fill in 2011.

Commissioners will vote today on a mid-year budget plan, which will use $18 million of the $54 million raised in the 2009 final tax bills to keep the budget year in balance.

Officials have proposed allocating the rest of the money from the second tax billing -- made necessary after commissioners approved a tax increase late last year -- to pay off an obligation to help the Gwinnett Medical Center with expansion plans and for retiree pension and health benefit liabilities.

The extra cash will forego any service cuts in 2010, but Finance Director Aaron Bovos said officials are researching ways to balance the 2011 budget, as the county's tax digest continues to decline.