The overall budget represents about a 9% increase from this year. It includes $1.96 billion for operations and $542 million for capital improvements. The general fund budget, which includes payroll, would be nearly $550 million, an increase of about 13%.
A 4% pay-for-performance incentive for employees would continue, Financial Services Director Buffy Alezulian said. It includes additional pay increases for bailiffs and poll workers. The county did not manage any elections this year, but must fund voter registration and elections next year.
The new positions include two senior probation officers for the new Department of Child Advocacy and Juvenile Services, two associate judges and a calendar clerk for juvenile court, two assistant district attorneys and an investigator for the district attorney’s office and two affordable housing project coordinators.
The fire department would get two new vehicles for medical calls and staffing to support them. The police department would get 12 more 911 dispatchers and four other dispatchers to handle non-emergency calls and reports that don’t require police officers, making possible an evening shift for non-emergencies after standard business hours, Alexzulian said.
Solicitor General Lisamarie Bristol would receive funding for a six-person special victims unit that would handle cases such as high-risk domestic violence, stalking, misdemeanor sex assault and crimes against children. The solicitor general would also establish a four-person pretrial diversion unit for offenders with little to no criminal history whose conduct is the result of a mental health diagnosis, Alexzulian said.
The county would hire a new traffic signals crew of five technicians and three vehicles to manage installation and maintenance of traffic lights. The economic development division would hire new staffers focused on outreach and multilingual support for local employers.
The proposed budget increases subsidies to View Point Health, which works with people who have severe mental illnesses, substance disorders or intellectual and developmental disabilities, and to Mosaic Georgia, a sexual assault and children’s advocacy center. It also increases funding to other health care providers that manage chronic illnesses for uninsured and underinsured patients, reducing the strain on the county’s emergency medical services, Alexzulian said.
The budget would fund a new biosolids drying facility at the F. Wayne Hill Water Resources Center and efforts to restore the stream in Jones Bridge Park, where there is significant erosion, she said.
New capital projects would increase sewer capacity to support development in the county’s eastern region and in the area of Buford Drive and Old Peachtree Road, in northern Gwinnett. Microtransit coverage would broaden and include electric vehicles, Alexzulian said.
About $194 million of next year’s budget will come from the Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax (SPLOST) that voters last year approved. It funds capital projects, including almost $92 million for roads and other transportation needs and almost $19 million for parks and recreation next year.
The Board of Commissioners is scheduled to vote Jan. 2 on the budget. The board approves property tax rates in the summer.