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December 31--  The Toombs County budget in 2014 is going up by about three percent.

{mosimage}The Toombs County Commission held a year-end called meeting and approved the county's budget for the new year which shows an increase of more than three-quarters of a million dollars.

Even with the increase, County Manager John Jones believes the $14.8 million dollar budget is conservative.

"I believe both on the revenue side and the expense side, you would classify it as a very conservative budget and I think that's prudent and the way we need to operate," he said.

Almost half of the increase is attributed to the collection of a one-cent Transportation Sales Tax (TSPLOST) which county officials plan to use for road paving.

"Paving of the Ezra Taylor Road is the biggest project we'll be paying for out of those TSPLOST funds.  We are going to be acquiring right-of-way early on in the new year and possibly by the end of the first quarter we'll see beginning of construction on that road as a direct result of TSPLOST," he noted. 

Other increases in the budget include a plus-up of $50,000 each for E-911 and the county ambulance service.  Most of the 911 budget is paid for by a telephone tax and the ambulance service pays for itself, according to Jones.

"We've not had to take any funds out of the general fund to pay for that.  They had enough revenues to pay for their operations without the general fund having to subsidize any of it," he said.

The biggest single bite out of the county budget goes to law enforcement with $2.4 million allocated to the county sherfiff and jail.  General administration soaks up $1.6 million and third in line is the road department with a million dollar annual budget.