Winners, losers in Gwinnett’s budget

Gwinnett County’s 2010 budget, passed this month on a 4-1 vote, is about $400 million less than last year’s. But some departments and services still will see major funding increases under the new spending plan.

Here’s a brief rundown of some of the major winners and losers in the new budget:


Recreation Fund: $41.4 million — up $9.8 million

This was one of the keys to the controversial 21 percent property tax increase passed last month. District 4 Commissioner Kevin Kenerly, who has coached youth sports for two decades, proposed the increase after seeing fees climb to levels that were prohibitive.

E-911 Fund: $14. 5 million — up $3.3 million

The emergency service operation is funded through wired and wireless phone surcharges, all regulated by the state.

Partnership Gwinnett: $775,000 — up $500,000

Several years ago, the county committed to allocating $500,000 a year to this arm of the Gwinnett Chamber to promote business development and retention. But last year’s budget woes forced the commissioners to cut funding in half. The 2010 budget restores full funding and kicks in an extra $250,000 to make up for last year.

Water and Sewer Fund: $194.9 million — up $23.8 million

This operation runs on user fees, which have been going up steadily the past few years. The commission approved a rate increase last spring that charged water and sewer customers an additional $5.20 a month. The rate increase raised an additional $700,000 from the county’s 235,000 water customers and about $9 million from its 155,000 sewer customers.


Capital projects: $355 million — down $292 million

The county began reducing expenditures last year by moving building projects back to later years. The 2009 budget included $11 million in late capital cuts. Then another $13 million was cut in the summer by moving back construction of three fire stations. The county since has vowed to put off as much new construction and renovations as possible until the economy improves.

Vehicle Purchase Fund — The county continues the policy initiated last year to squeeze more miles out of its fleet. An internal study found the county could save up to $14 million over three years by changing the cycle in which it replaces heavy equipment, cars and trucks, and another $2 million by reducing the number of vehicles.

Transit: $8.37 million — down $607,067

County officials remain in a quandary about local bus service. Transit operations were cut by 21 percent and express service by six percent last July.

Mike Beaudreau

The District 3 commissioner was voted down when he tried to pass the original version of the 2010 budget, which called for $4 million less in spending. This is the second year in a row Beaudreau has raised questions about Gwinnett’s spending. And he has been made to pay for it. Last year, Commission Chairman Charles Bannister added an additional $11 million in cuts to the 2009 budget, delaying the Grayson-Bay Creek police precinct and setting back development of several parks in eastern Gwinnett County, mostly in Beaudreau’s district. This year, late action shifted $1.2 million in funding away from recreation development at Harbins Park in Beaudreau’s district to another park in Lilburn. Beaudreau protested and says the fight is not over.