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November 9--  Toombs County commissioners are expected to approve a 2012 budget of just over $9 million at their December meeting.  That's about $157,000 less than this year, according to county officials.

County manager Doug Eaves says the commission has decided to dip into the county's rainy day fund to meet some additional expenses next year including a pay raise for county employees.

"We've got a three percent increase for all of our employees.  The second thing we had to account for next year is funding of federal, state and county elections," Eaves reports.  "What we're able to do because of the good work of the commissioners for the last couple of years is build a stable fund balance so in the coming year we've reduced the amount we're contributing to our contigency funds to pay these additonal costs," Eaves said.

Eaves estimates county reserves of $700,000 will be reduced to about $200,000 next year.  He says the good news is the longtime practice of year-end borrowing to cover operating costs should not be needed.

"We don't have to borrow money every year.  We have our cash flow under control and a more stable financial situation means we don't have to have that emergency fund at the level it had been in the past," Eaves notes. 

The county will hold a publc hearing on the budget Thursday, November 17th at four p.m. at the courthouse in Lyons.

Meanwhile, the Commission has okayed a $19,000 contract with a Hall County firm to study tax equity in Toombs County.  Eaves says Sutton Consulting will look at the cost of service delivery in the incorporated and unincorporated parts of the county.  Eaves says the goal is to make sure all taxpayers are on equal footing in terms of taxes paid and services delivered.