GWINNETT CUTS COSTS AND RAISES REVENUES
(Lawrenceville, Ga., April 19, 2011) – Gwinnett Commissioners today approved two more recommendations aimed at improving the County’s financial position. Even after closing an $18 million gap in the 2011 budget in March, County staff has continued to monitor and balance expenses and revenues on a monthly basis.
The Board of Commissioners cut a total of $1.49 million in expenses from various departments. Twenty firefighter positions will stay vacant until November and three vacant jobs in transportation and one in transit will be eliminated. The County also cut money budgeted for a possible runoff in the recent special election and realigned expenses in the Support Services Department.
Broken down by department, the cuts equal $722,000 in Fire and Emergency Services, $400,000 in Elections, $193,743 in Transportation, $127,000 in Police, $42,000 in Support Services, and $5,000 in Community Services. Cuts also included minor reductions in law, fleet, water, sewer, and stormwater. Similar moves in March saved $1.36 million.
Commissioners also accepted a recommendation to raise revenues by increasing fees paid to Corrections by first time offenders in the supervised Work Alternative Program. Operating costs for the community service work program have risen since the Board set the current rates in 2006. Offenders will now pay a registration fee of $110, up from $85, and a daily fee of $10 starting on May 1.
Newly-elected Chairman Charlotte Nash, running her first board meeting, said, “I appreciate the voluntary cuts made by many different departments to help balance the budget as we move through these tough economic times. Earlier spending reductions and fee increases taken with the actions we approved today improve the County’s financial outlook not only this year but in 2012 and 2013 where we will likely face continuing challenges resulting from a declining property tax digest. We intend to keep looking at operating efficiencies, cost cutting opportunities, ways to generate additional revenue, and service priorities as we recognize our current reality. Like everyone, though, we look forward to an economic recovery.”
By the end of March, the County had completed action on 65 of 122 recommendations from the Engage Gwinnett citizens committee while another 40 are currently being acted upon.