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Ellijay, GA
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by Ryan RRees

The Gilmer County Board of Commissioners has reached a tentative 2014 general fund budget that shows a $550,500 drop in expected revenue but a $331,199 increase in expenditures from this year.
The county had a $15,801,950 revenue budgeted for 2013, but that figure drops to $15,251,450 for next year.
The county has approved $15,328,405 in expenditures for this years budget and that will increase to $15,649,604 for the coming year, according to the preliminary budget.
The finalized 2014 budget will not be approved until December.
County Financial Officer Sandy Holden said there are several adjustments still to be made.
Based on the current tax digest, the county is anticipating a drop of $453,000 in revenue from property taxes. The county also is expecting $47,000 less in Local Option Sales Tax income and $45,000 less from beer/wine taxes.
Holden explained that the figures are based on 70 percent of the anticipated taxes actually being collected.
One of the biggest unknowns is from motor vehicle and mobile home taxes. A new state law that went into effect this year changes how ad velorem taxes are collected on motor vehicles. New vehicles sales now pay a one-time 7 percent ad velorem tax at the time of purchase. Older vehicle owners continue to pay the annual ad velorem assessment if the vehicle was purchased in 2011 or before.
The county budget called for $545,000 in motor vehicle and mobile home revenue this year and is forecasting $700,000 next year.
We havent had a full year under the new system, Holden said. So, were really estimating what the income will be at this time.
Through the end of September, the county expected to collect $1.8 million in real property taxes and the tax commissioners office has collected $1.2 million.
Motor vehicle tax collections have nearly doubled from an anticipated $504,000 to $963,409 to date. Mobile home taxes also have doubled from a budgeted $41,000 to $83,822.
The largest expected expenditure for 2014 is for elections. This year, the county budgeted $39,000 but that will increase to an anticipated $248,700 during next years election cycle.
The animal shelter is receiving an increase of $35,900 in expenditures to $166,288. Expected revenue from the shelter is dropping from $6,000 to $5,000.
Most of the 16 county departments did not receive an increased budget for next year, although the tax commissioners office budget increased $17,878, mostly for new computer software and security.
The sheriffs office shows a modest expenditure increase of $2,153  and nearly $9,000 for the detention center for next year while the fire departments budget remains the same as this year. Those are the two largest budget departments with the sheriffs office and detention center budget set at $300,000 and the fire department at $450,054.
The largest anticipated decrease in revenue will be from airport revenue, dropping from $118,700 this year to $81,200 next year a decrease of $37,500.

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