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Tobar’s proposed budget would require a tax increase

Major medical bills
are sinking county’s
health insurance plan
Grady County Commissioners got their first look at the proposed 2017 operating budget as recommended by administrator Carlos Tobar, and they may not have liked what they saw.
Tobar told county officials Tuesday that his projected expenditures for 2017 will exceed those of the current year by better than $666,000.
“We’re looking at just over a mil of additional tax right now and I don’t have the budget for the sheriff’s office or the building and grounds department,” Tobar said.
The county administrator was not prepared to give the county commission a general overview of the budget, but did present proposed budgets for the road department, recreation department, Emergency Medical Service, Magistrate Court, Probate Court, tax commissioner, tax assessors, registrars office and Extension Service.
Compounding the budget woes, Tobar reported that through May of this year the county is projected to be more than $400,000 over budget for health insurance and he said, “It probably will get worse before the end of the year.”
The county is under a self-insurance plan managed by Taylor Benefit Resource of Thomasville. During the first two years of the program, the county saved $1.2 million, according to Tobar, so he noted the county is still $800,000 to the good.
The county was budgeted to spend $1,250,000 for health insurance in 2016 and through May total expenditures are $897,864.38.
In 2013, total health care costs totaled $1,683,485 but by 2015 that total had dropped to $1,168,291, according to Tobar.
Other factors driving up the budget are mandated E911 expenditures, new overtime rules mandated by the U.S. Department of Labor, and increased salaries and overtime expense for the road department related to the Old 179 North project.
In fact, total salaries for the road department have increased from $681,092 in 2015 to $802,182 in Tobar’s proposed budget.
“To get Old 179 done, it’s going to take more money in the road department,” Tobar said.
However, Tobar has not included in the budget a new motograder as recommended by Road Superintendent Stanley Elkins.
“I thought we should wait and see until we get through with Old 179. We have so much LMIG (Local Maintenance & Improvement Grant from Georgia Department of Transportation) and there is no more SPLOST (Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax) for roads right now. If this were the 2019 budget I would keep it in, but with all the money we need on Old 179 is the reason I took it out,” Tobar said.
Commissioners conducted a cursory review of the other budgets presented Tuesday and will not see any others until a budget workshop to be held June 21.
“We are just discussing this now. We haven’t started whacking yet,” Chairman Charles Norton said Tuesday.

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