Catoosa taxes flat; shortfall expected

Catoosa taxes flat; shortfall expected

August 14th, 2011 by Andy Johns in News

Carl Henson, Catoosa County's financial officer


Catoosa County, Ga., commissioners will convene again for a public budget hearing Wednesday at 6 p.m. They plan to adopt a budget at an Aug. 31 meeting.

Catoosa County's 2012 budget predicts a $600,000 increase in sales tax income, but expenses are projected to exceed revenues by half a million dollars.

The good news is last year's projections showed a similar shortfall this year, but the county now has a surplus of $600,000, officials said. Also, the new budget does not include a tax increase.

"These are projected expenditures, and we normally operate below that level," Catoosa County financial officer Carl Henson said at a commission meeting last week.

Commissioners lauded Henson for working out a budget without raising property taxes.

"We face some tough money issues," Commissioner Ken Marks said. "It's good to see that we're not going to have a tax increase."

Henson assured the board that the budget had been pared and pared again. Initial expenses were expected to be $1.1 million more than revenues before they were scaled back to $495,000.

"There's not a lot of excess in the expenditures," Henson said.

Commission Chairman Keith Greene said health insurance, which increased by 10 percent, salaries and fuel costs are three expenses about which the commission and staff can do very little.

"Those are the three areas we can't touch, because we don't know what's going to happen in the future," he said.

The shortfall would come out of the county's reserves if it becomes reality.

The commission will convene again for a public budget hearing Wednesday at 6 p.m. Members plan to adopt a budget at a meeting on Aug. 31.