DAWSONVILLE, Ga. – Dawson County officials are walking that fine line between trying to reduce the cost of government and providing the quality services citizens expect. Two more departments presented budget requests for 2019 that reduce their operational expense during Thursday’s budget hearing. Several others asked for modest increases.
County Manager David Headley asked for $8,625 less than his 2018 Administration budge while Justin Power in the Clerk of Courts office is requesting $36,743 less.
The General Government budget requested shows a $131,261 increase over 2018. But that amount is misleading since $100,000 of that is in a contingency account which can be used in an emergency, but which is not expected to be spent. There was some discussion about removing that from the General Government budget and placing it in the county’s Fund Balance.
Coroner Ted Bearden is another example of a county official working hard to keep costs down. So much so that he is self-funding some functions.
Bearden asked for a minimal increase of $20,747 Thursday. He pointed out that his office has not asked for an increase in nearly 20 years. He also noted there has been a 30 percent increase in the coroner’s call volume so far this year. He is also requesting the addition of one new deputy coroner, plus training expense and the cost of some equipment.
Bearden thanked Commission Chairman Billy Thurmond, who served as the county’s Emergency Services Director for many years before running for chairman, for volunteering to act as deputy coroner.
“The county doesn’t pay him to work cases,” Bearden said, “So I pay him out of my own pocket.”
Bearden did hire a deputy coroner this year but because there was no position in the budget, Bearden funds that position himself. “I really don’t think it’s fair that I have to pay him just to keep the county covered,” he said. “But that is the only way I can make it work. We are 24/7, 365. If we get a call Christmas morning, somebody’s got to go.”
Facilities Maintenance, which is responsible for repairs, preventative maintenance and construction of all county facilities, requested an increase of $25,206 to $1,049,928. Much of the increase, if approved, will go toward property repair and maintenance.
Board of Equalization requested a slight increase of $5,533, $5,000 of which was an increase in the salary line item that resulted from the commission-approved salary increase of 2017.
Information Technology is also asking for an increase of about $46,138 in its 2019 budget.
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