Budget: County Begins Allocating Money Thursday
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It's your money, and you can help decide what it's spent on.

You can also have a say in now much you spend for government services.

Thursday night, hearings will begin to determine the budget for Cannon County Government for the fiscal year 2011-2012.

The Budget Committee of the Cannon County Commission will meet in the courtroom at the courthouse beginning at 6 p.m. The public is invited.

Are your property taxes going to go up? Will there be a decrease the the amount of government services you receive? Is a pay raise in store for county workers for the first time in three years? Those are some of the questions the committee will address.

The committee will begin the process of appropriating funds to meet the expenses of the various departments, institutions, offices and agencies in Cannon County.

There are five members of the Budget Committee this year, an increase of two. Commissioners Mark Barker, Kevin George and Clint Higgins are on the committee, along with citizen representatives Bill Jennings and James Adkins.

Once the budget hearings are complete, the committee will determine if a property tax increase is needed to fund the budget for the next fiscal year, and submit the proposed budget to the full Cannon County Commission for discussion and consideration.

Persons who have ideas on ways county government can increase tax revenue or improve services to its citizens can do so by presenting proposals and plans to the budget committee.

Cannon County Executive Mike Gannon said the committee will begin the process of determining the county's budget for the 2011-2012 fiscal year, which begins July 1, by reviewing projected revenue. Gannon said revenue for next year is anticipated to be "slightly higher" than it is for the current fiscal year.

The next step for the committee will be going over the budget requests from all county departments and agencies.

The list of entities which receive funding from taxpayers each year includes, but is not limited to, the County Executive, Election Commission, Register of Deeds, Property Assessor, County Trustee, County Clerk, Circuit Court Clerk, Sheriff's Department, County Jail Ambulance/Emergency Medical Services, County Schools, Solid Waste/Sanitation, Highway/Public Works, Circuit and General Sessions courts, Senior Center, REACH, Libraries, Fire Prevention and Control and County Building Maintenance.

Most of the money goes toward paying public employees. A significant portion also goes toward paying the principle and interest on money borrowed to finance certain projects, such as school buildings and roads.

The budget for the current fiscal year breaks down as follows: General Fund - $5,547,211.00, Solid Waste/Sanitation Fund - $441,190.00,  Industrial/Economic Development Fund - $63,795.00, Drug Control Fund - $32,200, Highway/Public Works - $3,155,178.00, General Purpose School Fund - $14,949,780.00, Central Cafeteria Fund - $1,122,650.00 and General Debt Service Fund, $787,250.00.

The combined property tax rate for the current fiscal year is $2.32 on each $100 of taxable property.

The county took approximately $340,000 from its reserves to fund the 2010-2011 budget, leaving an extimated balance of around $547,000.

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