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Gwinnett leaders trim, balance budget

LAWRENCEVILLE -- Commissioners approved a balanced $1.3 billion budget for 2012, incorporating another $5 million in cuts to get Gwinnett out of the red.

The spending plan is a decrease of 2.5 percent in operating funds and more than 27 percent in capital funds.

"It was what a lot of families and businesses have been doing the past few years, prioritizing their needs," said Chairwoman Charlotte Nash, who formulated her first budget in elected office after working through the county process for years as a staffer. "We thought it was very important to balance the budget without the use of fund balance."

While forestalling any major service changes, the 2012 budget means the county will wait another year to hire 25 police officers and 25 firefighters.

Making the final $5 million in cuts to balance the spending plan, commissioners agreed to take some money out of contingencies and fleet funds, which means cars will be driven longer. Money was also found through a policy to keep positions vacant for 90 days, a decrease to an inmate medical contract and through a delay from the state in sending out new license plates.

"In lean times, it's not easy to have a budget that people are supportive of, given the choices we had to make," said Commissioner Mike Beaudreau, pointing out that the spending plan takes into account another potential 8 percent reduction of the county's tax digest due to dropping property values.

The leaders were complimentary of department directors who found ways to trim their spending due to the down economy.

"It's hard to say I'm going to live without," Commissioner Shirley Lasseter said. "I do commend all the departments for scrutinizing their budgets as hard as they have."

Comments

BuzzG 2 years, 3 months ago

How about telling us where the $1.3 in revenue coming from? Are they selling the baseball stadium?

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Mack711 2 years, 3 months ago

Does the county trash surcharge come to mind?

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ptm4936 2 years, 3 months ago

If you can function without a position for 90 days, why not for 180 or a full year or simply eliminate it?

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JimmyOrr 2 years, 3 months ago

ptm4936, I wholeheartedly agree. Govenrment would do well to learn that there is a simple formula for determining personnel requirements which is, P=BE-1 which translates to Personnel Equals Barely Enough Minus One.

James H. (Jimmy) Orr, Jr.

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Veryconcernedcitizen 2 years, 3 months ago

All of you operate under the assumption that government should do less, until it affects you, then you complain about what the government isn't doing to help you.

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NorcrossDot 2 years, 3 months ago

One thing I can honestly state. I have never, ever in my 70 years wanted the government on any level to do more for me. I only wanted them to do the part that was their responsibility but their greed has overtaken all levels of government. "Less is more"

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Cleanupguy 2 years, 3 months ago

Yeah, who needs police and fire guys anyway?

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dentaldawg83 2 years, 3 months ago

veryconcerned..

tired and overused argument..

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R 2 years, 3 months ago

"All of you operate under the assumption that government should do less" And cost less in the process - we certainly hope so!!!

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Jan 2 years, 3 months ago

I am constantly amazed by the all too common response exemplified by NorcrossDot. So many county services effect us in ways that are indirect. We have Health Department and Fire Department inspections that help keep stores, restaurants, health clubs, etc. operating safely. Health inspections can be found at The Gwinnett County Board of Health .Police departments that discourage crimes including driving intoxicated. We do not interact with these but they are helping to improve the quality of life in Gwinnett. NorcrossDot may well be able to argue that she has never used park or library facilities but these do enhance the appeal of Gwinnett for businesses to locate. If you really want to be involved in a serious discussion of cuts in personnel, then you should be specific as to what services we should reduce.

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HonestIngine 2 years, 3 months ago

If you look at your taxes, almost 1/2 goes to the school system. Seems to me that's where we should take note. Gwinnett County School System is the largest employer in the county. A group of citizens last year in Nov election tried to tell everyone about voting NO to SPLOST. Listen to what they have to say. You may not agree with them but they do have validity. Our education system is out of wack, not just here in Gwinnett but in the entire state. We are educating the world, people are coming here and getting HOPE money without true citizenship. We never hear of the ones who slip thru the cracks only the ones who have used our system and got caught. We should do like the other states and if your parents are not here legally, then your children cannot attend public schools. I know I will get a lot of heat for these comments, but it's the truth and happening here in our county more so than others.

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LoganvilleResident 2 years, 3 months ago

HonestIngine,

You are very misinformed. You can't name one state that refuses to educate children of illegal immigrants. I can promise you that because federal law guarantees all children access to public education. Alabama recently tried to just "track" the citizenship of illegal parents and students so that they could calculate the cost of providing them an education. They were restrained from doing so by a federal judge.

As a country, we are spending billions of dollars educating children of parents who are here illegally. However, this is beyond the control of local government because of existing federal laws. Besides, I don't believe I could deny a child an education because of the actions of their parents. I think education is the most important thing we can offer to help eradicate many other problems.

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HonestIngine 2 years, 3 months ago

Alabama is working on it... just wait

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TheEagleKeeper 2 years, 3 months ago

"I can promise you that because federal law guarantees all children access to public education."

Un-Constitutionally.

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BuzzG 2 years, 3 months ago

Gwinnett schools are an expensive mess. When our kids get to college, the first thing they have to do is take remedial math and English because they were poorly taught in Gwinnett schools. Give us vouchers and let us send our kids to good schools. Existing schools will either have to shape up or dry up.

Anyone trying to use schools as a justification for a large bureaucratic government had better sit up and pay attention.

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Jan 2 years, 3 months ago

The few private schools that can consistently show improved performance have very high tuition, several times what is spent on students in public schools. They also provide tutors for students that are falling behind. Most private and charter schools cannot show any improved education. There have been national studies that show a direct correlation with expenditures by public schools improving performance of students. If you want students to get a better education, then quit feeding them the ridiculous idea that public schools are remedial. If a student is motivated, they will learn. I'm sure you would also be surprised to learn that states with teachers unions usually have better performing students.

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R 2 years, 3 months ago

learn that states with teachers unions usually have better performing students." This is a true joke - just try NY. NY but thank you for playing!

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Jan 2 years, 3 months ago

One can always find exceptions. My statement is true. States with teachers unions usually have better performing students. I assume you understand the meaning of 'usually'. If you take the average student performance over the entire state of New York, you will see that their performance exceeds that of Georgia and most non-union states.

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ssilover1 2 years, 3 months ago

Maybe your kids took remedial classes, but mine didn't and neither did any of their friends. They were all educated in GC schools. Some are teacers, some are doctors, some are lawyers, some are financial advisors and some are ministers. So...BuzzG, maybe you are just dumb and so are your off spring.

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Mack711 2 years, 3 months ago

BuzzG abd Honestingine: you would never make a good politician, you are both honest and know what is going on, Case in point the illegal in Kennesaw. still gets the Hope. We are educating the illegals that are not paying taxes to assist the honest citizens who do.Have not had children in the school system for at least 12 years, but still pay school tax. Not complaing just want to know hou much is the admistrative cost and how much for building costs.

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Jan 2 years, 3 months ago

So your solution is to dump on society uneducated masses to resort to theft and cheating the system when they cannot find gainful employment. Next, I guess you will start a campaign to require charities and churches to verify citizenship status before giving help to the hungry.

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R 2 years, 3 months ago

If illegal, they CAN'T find "legal" employment so what’s the point here?

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HonestIngine 2 years, 3 months ago

Thank you for the comment. Had a referral from a client who moved to Atlanta from India several years ago. He was a merchant Marine in the Indian Navy. Great paying job, family was living in India. His friend got him a job as a night auditor at his Motel 6. He came to Atlanta to establish residency. He was living in Techwood Homes(gov't funded). I asked him why did he want to settle in Atlanta... "My children can get a free education here", was his response. Sure enough, 1 and 1/2 years later, his son came here got into GA TECH, and of course all because of HOPE. The rest of the family followed. This is only one story I personally know of, I can tell you about 3 others but not enough space.

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toby 2 years, 3 months ago

Money will not make a kid smarter. My kids got into early enrollment at UGA and money had nothing to do with it. They had the determination and desire to get there. They kept the HOPE the entire time saving me a lot of money. Thank you lottery players. All departments can be cut by some percentage. Cut out free cars for county workers. Cut out retirement. Make it a 401K. Why does a Principal make over $100K a year plus a bonus for the number of kids in the school? Why are there so many administrators in a school? 1 principal per 50 teachers would be a good ratio and cut everyone else. Use parents as volunteers to answer the phone. Government workers use to make minimum wage and we made it OK and now they make a whole lot more and now there are more complaints with the government. Money does not fix everything. And for the folks that thinks GC schools are bad, the city of Atlanta will welcome you anytime.

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ssilover1 2 years, 3 months ago

Why shoud government workers make less than private sector? Just asking...

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concernedtaxpayer 2 years, 3 months ago

These county chairmen and high positioned financial chiefs and county managers are still mis-spending the county revenue on high-end, unnecessary studies. If they aren't smart enought to be able to handle jobs of running the county on their end or any of the department division managers,then get out and let people who need jobs get them and do the work. The millions spent on unnecessary stadiums(including and up and coming soccer stadium exactly where the transit corridor is under study), studies on an uncalled for airport(who wants to live in that noise & pollution), and transit studies for a county that is a bedroom community and sparsely spread out. A bus in Dacula running several times a day with approx 6-10 people maximum. What a wasted expense! All of these expenditures could help the citizens of Gwinnett who are struggling. Hundreds are homeless, and hungry children in our schools. The needs here are very great. You may say, In Gwinnett?. I say, yes here in Gwinnett. Families are desperate, children are hungry unless fed in school, and many have no homes, or near forclosure. The County management ignores what's happening here, and spends like the rich life style they are in. I for one don't want to see anyone out of a job, but some of the County Departments have too many high paid heads, chiefs, deputy chiefs, and managers. In some departments, when a position became vacant, after the 90 days waiting period, 3-4 people were hired or promoted at higher rates of pay. How does that save revenue? Get rid of them, and hire common people who will take pride in being a public servant in this County and get us back on track. We have no homeless shelters or community soup kitchens. Oh, excuse me, those rich Gwinnettians want to ignore this fact because it's not their style. Every citizen should protest any service hikes and vote 'NO" to any additional bonds, taxes, etc. The time has come to stand together and get the message across to these politicians and the cronies in the County dept positions. What do you say Gwinnett? Is it time to make a change.

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