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BOC calls meeting on budget

CONYERS -- The Rockdale County Board of Commissioners announced two called meetings for Monday and Tuesday to discuss the proposal to eliminate the county's Emergency Services director position and reorganize the Fire Division.

Monday's called meeting will be held at 9 a.m., following the BOC's regularly scheduled work session. The agenda has three items. One is the ordinance revision that would eliminate Emergency Services Director John McNeil's position and create a new Fire and Rescue Department that would be made up of the Fire Division and Emergency 911.

Another item is a proposed change to the county government's defined benefits retirement plan. The proposal would reduce the points requirement county employees need to retire with full benefits. The points system currently requires an employee to reach 90 points -- a combination of the number of years of service and age.

The change was presented by Chief of Staff Greg Pridgeon at Monday's work session and deferred by the commissioners at their Tuesday meeting. The change would reduce the points requirement to encourage some employees to choose early retirement as a way to reduce payroll.

The other item is noted as "Budget Amendments -- General Fund -- Various Departments."

Monday's called meeting will include a first reading of the ordinance to eliminate the Emergency Services director's position and reorganize the department. Tuesday's called meeting is scheduled for 10 a.m. and has the second reading of the Emergency Services ordinance and additional budget amendments on the agenda.

Notification of the two meetings was received after 5 p.m. Thursday. Calls to the Board of Commissioners office were not answered.

The decision on the Emergency Services proposal was deferred Tuesday to the commissioners' next regular session on July 13 to allow more time for Commissioner JaNice Van Ness to research the matter before a vote.

Van Ness had also called for a budget hearing Monday to hear from all of the county department heads on the status of their budgets.

The county had expected a shortfall from property tax revenue this year. Rockdale County Tax Commissioner Dan Ray had estimated in May the revenue gap to be at about $4.3 million. Since then, as property assessment appeals were processed and more information received, the estimated gap has decreased by either $2 million or $3 million.