Ellis’ proposal does call for eliminating three paid holidays this year for all employees who are not working. The move would save about $1.755 million.
But the proposal also calls for restoring $3.4 million to county departments who have gone over the budget set for them by the commission last winter. At the time, the county commission ordered each department to cut 9 percent, with police and fire seeing 4.5 percent reductions to their spending.
The county’s constitutional and elected/appointed offices, such as that of the district attorney and sheriff, also will get back $6.6 million from their reduced budgets under the administration’s plans.
The overages combined with increased funding to Grady Hospital and retiree health insurance, make up 1.19 mills of the proposed tax increase.
Commissioner Jeff Rader questioned whether such overspending was legal, though finance director Joel Gottlieb said the county won’t have overspent until the year ends in December.
“We’re not overspending it, but we will get beyond what was budgeted at the current levels,” Gottlieb said. “To get through the end of the year, the only significant source of revenue we have is property taxes.”
COO Richard Stogner promised a final budget proposal by late Thursday or early Friday. The budget commission meets again Monday, to possibly announce its own proposal for cuts or a tax increase.
The last public hearing on the budget will be held at 10 a.m. Tuesday, right before the commission votes to adopt the millage rate and budget.