On February 24, 2015, the Board of Commissioners held a workshop to discuss several issues facing the county. The first issue the board discussed was the county insurance. According to Commissioner Bettye Bozeman, the insurance rate will go up a small amount and the county’s loss ratio was better than it has been. Bozeman said, “We need to applaud our employees for not running to the emergency room every time they stump their toes.” Bozeman said there will probably a two percent increase from the numbers of last year.
The next issue was how to get the budget under control and stop spending. Chairman Mike Cosby mentioned that the budget has been discussed at the last two workshop but the discussions yielded zero results. Bozeman went through each department that was over budget in the county and a majority have over spent. Although, a few were still under budget. The county’s total overages are $226,552.14. However, according to Bozeman, the $226,552.14 does not include the landfill nor E-911. The landfill is over budget $10832.20 and E-911 is over $11926.40. According to Bozeman, each department has to take a 40 percent reduction. Commissioner Billy McDonald said, “That’s money that we don’t have.” To which Cosby said, “Amen” Mike Shivock suggested turning the community center, in which claimed is seldom rented, in to a fire station. As opposed to spending the several thousand dollars to construct a new building. Schovack suggested the community center being the new headquarters for Worth County Fire Rescue. Cosby claimed that the problem with doing that is the community center was built using grant funds. When grant funds are used to for a project there are set limitations to the uses of the finished product. However, Cosby agreed that using the community center as a fire station would be a better use for the community center. Shivock claimed the community center is a burden to the county. Schovack claimed that the utilities alone are hurting the county when the community center is not rented out. Bozeman stated, “The Governor gave us $850,000 on that. The balance was taken out of SPLOST. The people voted on it. That’s how we came up with the community center. That was Roy Barnes that did that.” Schovack asked does that mean the building had to stay a community center. Bozeman said the board might could talk to legislation about the community center becoming a fire station. Cosby and Bozeman agreed that the county does lose money on the community center.
Cosby said that the board is requesting that each department work on their budget in hopes of being able to trim their spending. McDonald stated that if something isn’t done the county may have to borrow funds from a bank again. Cosby asked the County Attorney if the county borrows money when will it have to be paid back. The debt would be due on December 31.
The board then discussed landfill past due accounts. McDonald claimed that he a solution to the problem. McDonald said the landfill past due accounts should be added to the property tax. McDonald claimed that a majority of counties in the state of Georgia have already implemented this measure as a way of dealing with past due accounts for trash collection. Cosby claimed that Graddy and Colquitt county have put “teeth” into their process of collecting past due accounts which has resulted in helping bring in more funds. Cosby asked Landfill Clerk Hilita Jones for an update on the collection process so far. Jones said that she has sent Tax Commissioner Tabitha DuPreist a list of names that are 120 days past due. Jones herself is handling 60 days past due. Jones said she is mailing out post cards informing the residence of their past due accounts. Jones said the residence are just now getting the post cards.