2014 county budget close to being balanced

Ashley Biles Associate Editor

November 5, 2013

According to County Manager Jim Wheeless, the 2014 budget for Upson County will be about three percent away from being balanced when it is turned over to the Board of Commissioners within the next week or so. Department Heads have been working with Wheeless and County Accountant Wayne Sandefur for the past two months on their respective budgets, with the county asking for significant cuts to be made in each departments funding to help keep the overall cost as low as possible.

“We asked for significant cuts the first time around because we know our revenue has dropped over the last six to seven years and that is what we have to base our budget off of,” said Wheeless. “Almost 60 percent of our revenue is from property taxes and it along with everything else has gone down. After the first cuts were made, we also asked for another five percent cut across the board.”

Wheeless noted that work sessions and budget hearings would be set up once the board receives the 2014 budget to review.

In other business, Commission Chairman Rusty Blackston announced that through a special housing initiative with the Department of Community Affairs (DCA), eight houses will be rehabilitated or torn down and rebuilt in the Lincoln Park community. He also noted that more houses may be able to be done, as long as the cost does not exceed $306,000. The project is slated to start early next year.

Blackston also stated the county received a letter from DCA awarding the Qualified Local Government status in recognition of Upson County completing and adopting the short-term work program update.

“I’m very proud of what this community has done, what the board and everyone who works for the county has done,” said Blackston. “This is like getting the Good Housekeeping seal.”