Hood addressed concerned citizens during a town hall meeting held last night. She said she organized the gathering to hear what her constituents wanted to see in the 2010 budget and on the upcoming Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax (SPLOST), which will be voted on November 2011.
Hood said that with a lean budget, there wouldn’t be room for new projects, and reductions made earlier this year will remain in effect.
“We will see continued employee budget cuts,” Hood said during the meeting.
She was referring to the temporary employee benefit reduction voted on by the Board of Commissioner in February.
As of March 1, employees no longer received cost-of-living-allowances, longevity pay, and holiday pay for the 10 county holidays, including $30 in Christmas pay. Also, employees will no longer receive the deferred compensation retirement match of 5 percent.
Hood says these cuts will continue in the upcoming budget for the 2010-2011 fiscal year.
The cuts, Hood said, make up for $1.3 million in budgetary shortfalls, equal to one mill of taxes. However, the board is still facing a $1.5 million budgetary shortfall.
However, Hood said she wants to avoid cutting funding to the county fire and sheriff’s departments because public safety is a high priority
“I am all about public safety, if we cannot keep you safe first, then everything else needs to go by the wayside,” Hood said.
The BOC will receive a preliminary budget for review on May 4.