County finances off to slow start in FY 2019

By Linton Johnson

Elbert County Finance Officer Phil Pitts reported to the Board of Commissioners Monday that the county is off to a slow start in fiscal year 2019 due to typically declining revenue and increased expenses this time of year.
“This is your September report, and it’s not exactly very nice looking,” Pitts said. “But the accommodation is we know our tax revenue declines in the months of the year prior to tax bills going out. Also, we have had seven payrolls because of the way the months and weeks fall, and up front we pay a number of different things, from our property insurance to some of our agencies that we support. It makes it look a little bit bad right now, but as the year progresses those numbers usually begin working out, and by the end of the year we’re OK.”
Pitts said he is also concerned about where final property tax revenue numbers will land this year due to an uncertainty over the status of numerous appeals to a recent reassessment of home values.
“The concern I have and have expressed is on our property right now. I just don’t know what to anticipate based on the appeals and how those adjustments may fall in place. We hope it will be reasonable. We’ll just have to see how that does progress.”
In other business Monday, the commissioners approved a $1,000 contribution to the local Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday Committee from hotel/motel tax funds to go toward the weekend-long celebration in January. Committee spokesperson Mary Clark expressed appreciation to the commissioners and said she hopes the county will participate in the local MLK parade.
“We would also like to have some representation – an entry, a float, a car or something from the county to just represent the county in the parade,” Clark said. “We are trying to project and advocate the ideals of Dr. King, which are love, peace and unity.”
The commissioners approved a rezoning request to change 2.3 acres on the Athens Highway from residential to general business designation for the location of an auto accessory business.
The board also heard first reading of two separate ordinances to change the county’s policies governing the sale of surplus property and to require bids for purchases of over $10,000 to be published on the county’s website and the Georgia Procurement Registry. The commissioners will consider approval of the ordinances at next month’s meeting.
Before adjourning, the board met for 15 minutes in closed session to discuss a real estate transaction.

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