The Columbia County Commission passed a balanced budget for next year, with no tax increase and no pay raises for employees.
Based on anticipated revenues of just over $57 million, the $56 million budget shows a surplus of just over $1 million – but that could change as the county’s tax digest is completed.
“It’s a slight increase over last year’s budget,” County Administrator Scott Johnson said. “The digest is a slight increase over last year’s budget. We’ve worked very hard this year to make sure we were very conservative on our revenues as well as our expenditures.”
Tax officials on Tuesday said the county’s budgets, including the recently approved school system budget with a 1-mill tax increase, are based on anticipated growth of 1.5 percent in the overall value of taxable property in the county.
That likely will decline slightly as taxpayers appeal their assessments, said Debbie Robertson, the county’s chief appraiser.
“It was pretty challenging in the beginning,” Johnson said. “But we feel very good about the budget being presented tonight for next year, with no tax increase, of course.”
Officials won’t discuss any raises for employees until after the tax digest is final, they said.
“We have not taken up any consideration of merit raises,” commission Chairman Ron Cross said. “That will be done later on in the year.”