Glynn County Commissioners met Thursday to talk about the proposed fiscal year 2019 budget, which represents modest growth over the current fiscal year, according to the budget’s summary.
The current proposal for the fiscal year 2019 sets the overall budget at a little less than $142 million, an increase of around six percent over this year’s budget.
The overall budget includes seven funds: the special revenue, internal service, capital projects, pension trust, enterprise, debt service and general funds. The general fund — from which the county makes most of its discretionary purchases and pays employees, among other things — is proposed to account for 52 percent of the fiscal year 2019 overall budget, $73 million.
A section of the budget detailed how proposed expenditures will further the six goals the commission set for itself in its strategic plan: a safe community, financial responsibility, exceptional customer service, planned and managed growth, quality of life and valued employees.
County Manager Alan Ours noted that people responding to a citizen survey discussed earlier in the meeting generally felt very safe in their own neighborhoods. He suggested the county putting a high priority on public safety may have something to do with it.
“There’s a high correlation with (a safe community) being your number one goal. If you look at the budget and you look at the expense directed toward having a safe community, I think that lines up,” Ours said.
He noted a $53,000 expenditure on software that would allow judges to issue warrants remotely, part of nearly $2 million in new safety and security equipment and software, gear for paramedics, new vehicles for the Glynn County Police Department and Sheriff’s Office and a new ambulance
It can take three or four hours to get a warrant from a magistrate judge at odd hours of the night or on weekends, Ours said. The warrant software would significantly speed up the process and help the Glynn County Police Department get some criminals off the street faster, or before they can flee, he said.
Money is also in the propose budget to fill the one planner position still open in the planning and zoning division after a new planner was hired last month, Ours said. The county has struggled to fill open positions in the division since all three planners, and the former community development director left over the course of a year from 2016 to 2017.
Ours also told the commissioners about spending on software that would allow the public to access and read public documents more easily, among other things.
He also spoke about proposed expenditures on a study of the county’s ordinances. Ours said it would help the county determine how best to bring them in line with its comprehensive plan, which a consultant is in the process of updating.
The budget also includes spending on quality of life improvements to public facilities and parks, among other things.
Commissioner Mark Stambaugh asked what would happen if the organization that runs the St. Simons Marina, a public marina, couldn’t afford to pay the county back for $485,000 in repairs. Ours said the agreed-upon rate is $43,014 a year.
Commission Chairman Bill Brunson said the county would work with the group, but would take over the marina if it couldn’t raise the money. The county would then attempt to use revenue from the marina to pay off the $485,000 to prevent the burden from falling on taxpayers, he said.
The commission also discussed revenue from open records requests, county services provided to city residents and community policing, among other things.
Commissioners also heard the results of a citizen survey and an update on Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax 2016 projects.
The Glynn County Commission is scheduled to hold another special-called meeting at 2 p.m. Tuesday in the Old Glynn County Courthouse, 701 G St. in Brunswick.
Additionally, an article published on page 1A Wednesday about the budget incorrectly listed the amount the budget has increased since 2016. The increase since then has been $26 million.