Wednesday, June 23, 2010
© Copyright 2013
Gwinnett Daily Post
LAWRENCEVILLE -- County officials are trying a new approach to balancing a slimmer budget.
During a kickoff Wednesday to prepare the 2011 spending plan, County Administrator Glenn Stephens and others outlined a plan to put service levels first and give commissioners a chance to "shop" for the level they want.
"We all realize we are in an environment where money is very tight, and we owe it to our citizens to run this government in the most efficient way possible," Stephens said. "We've made a fundamental shift in Gwinnett County."
Chief Financial Officer Aaron Bovos told dozens of county officials that they would not be given financial targets, but he said he expects people to come up with creative ways to save money.
"We've got to clearly tie our budget appropriations to the level of service delivered," he said of three budget proposals expected for each department. One should be based on the current level of service, although he expects expenses to be "scrubbed," while a second piece of the proposal should outline service reductions and a third would include service requests.
While commissioners adopted an increased millage rate in 2009, they voted Tuesday to maintain that rate in 2010, despite a downturn in the tax digest ensuring $31 million less in revenues.
With the financial picture continuing to look grim for 2011, Bovos said officials should not expect any salary or benefit increases and other financial pressures such as unfunded pension benefits could mean even less money is available.
Chairman Charles Bannister will begin reviewing the budget proposals in October and will present his recommendation to commissioners Dec. 1.