Glynn County commissioners are scheduled to talk about the county’s fiscal year 2019-2020 budget today in a special-called meeting.
Commissioners heard a presentation on the budget during a work session last week, but officials felt the matter deserved its own dedicated discussion.
“What we plan on doing is ask whatever questions you have, and then in a little over a week, we’re going to have another budget session,” commission chairman Mike Browning said at the work session last week. “Be prepared to come in here and everything you want to deal with, be ready to deal with it.”
Due to a number of changes between this year’s budget and the recommended budget for the next fiscal year, it’s difficult to compare them directly, County Manager Alan Ours told the Glynn County Commission at the work session. However, the total budget for the last fiscal year added up to around $142 million while the 2019-2020 budget comes out to around $132 million.
The $10 million difference can largely be attributed to fewer purchases and an expected drop in revenue from Brunswick and Jekyll Island property taxes, according to Tamara Munson, the county’s interim chief financial officer.
The structure of the proposed 2019-2020 budget is far enough removed from previous budgets to make direct comparisons difficult, Ours said. For one, the Glynn County Police Department’s budget is moving out of the general fund, where it has historically been categorized, and into its own police fund within the new special revenue fund.
Both the police department and EMS, under a currently-proposed property tax restructuring, will get most of their budgets from two new millage rates.
Most county residents won’t see a change because the county’s base millage rate will drop to compensate for the new taxes. As neither the city of Brunswick nor Jekyll Island will pay the new police — Jekyll residents will also not pay the EMS tax — residents of both will see smaller tax bills.
To cover for the drop in revenue, money normally destined for other departments or funds will go to the police and EMS. In particular, the Glynn County Fire Department would lose the revenue from the insurance premium tax to the police department in the current budget proposal, leading to a deficit in the fire department’s budget.
The proposal recommends drawing from the department’s reserves to cover the roughly $616,000 deficit in the short term. Munson said the county commission may have to decide how to handle it in the long term.
Other major expenses in the budget include $200,000 set aside for special projects related to the comprehensive plan and $1.2 million to replace 24 county vehicles.
Among the special projects is the implementation of a development impact fee. The county commission has toyed with the subject in work session discussions but has taken little official action on the matter.
The meeting is scheduled for 2 p.m. today on the second floor of the Harold Pate Building, 1725 Reynolds St. in Brunswick.