Cobb County is scheduled to vote on Sept. 12 to adopt a new budget.Credit: Getty Images

Cobb’s proposed $405 million budget would drain reserves

Cobb commissioners are poised to adopt a $405 million budget that would drain the county’s reserves, setting the stage for service cuts or a tax hike next year.

The proposed budget includes $21 million in one-time moneys, which would go toward county employee pay raises and paying off bonds for park land.

The raises and the park bonds were approved unanimously in 2017, but the county has yet to identify a recurring funding source for either. A tax increase championed by County Chairman Mike Boyce was defeated by a vote of 3-2 last month

Residents who attended that meeting were overwhelmingly opposed to a tax increase, especially given the county’s use of public funds  to pay for the Atlanta Braves’ new stadium, SunTrust Park.

County Finance Director Bill Volckmann said the 2018 budget does not include any reductions in services, but if approved, there would not be any one-time moneys available to balance the 2019 budget.

“That is why it will be important for the [Board of Commissioners] to identify service reductions, fee increases, or consider a millage adjustment,” Volckmann wrote in an email. “The big takeaway from this budget is that the County is using $21.5 million of one-time moneys to balance the budget and pay for reoccurring expenditures.”

The proposed 2018 budget is up six percent from the 2017 adopted budget of $384 million. It relies on a net digest growth of 4.45 percent

County commissioners are scheduled to vote on the budget for Fiscal Year 2018, which in Cobb runs from October to September, on Sept. 12.

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