Cobb commissioners Tuesday unanimously passed a $340 million general fund budget for fiscal year 2015.
The spending plan increases spending on the police department by more than $3 million, and sets in motion an improvement plan to hire 232 officers and buy 230 patrol cars by 2017. Some of the plan to upgrade the police department, like some of the vehicle purchases, are dependent on voters passing a special purpose sales tax this fall.
The budget does not raise property taxes, slightly reduces the amount of money transferred into county coffers from the water department, and gives county employees a 3-percent raise.
The general fund budget is the county’s largest, but commissioners also approved smaller funds for 911, the fire department, debt service, transit, solid waste and more. All combined, those funds amount to $842 million.
“There’s not a penny in this budget that doesn’t go to the execution of providing services to residents,” Commission Chairman Tim Lee said.
None of the commissioners were completely satisfied with the budget, but all voted for it. Bob Ott said he wants to see the $18 million annual transfer from the water department eliminated more quickly, and said he thinks the police department should receive more funding than proposed. It was the first budget for which Ott has voted yes.
“I have concerns but I think the police need to know they have my support,” Ott said. “I don’t want them to think we’re just providing lip service.”