BY KRISTEN BUCKLES
The Greene County Budget & Finance Committee is already taking a look ahead toward the 2014-2015 budget.
The 2013-2014 budget just passed during a special called meeting of the Greene County Commission on Friday after months of difficult discussion and debate over deficits and depleted revenues.
The committee met on Wednesday to approve financial resolutions for consideration at the September County Commission meeting.
There was only one such resolution; the committee approved for the commission to consider appropriating the remainder of the 2010 road bond money (about $800,000) to the Highway Department's asphalt plant operations.
With such a light agenda for Wednesday's meeting, the committee quickly turned their attention to the recently-approved budget.
"I'd like to say, personally, thanks to [Budget Director Mary Shelton] and [Finance Secretary Regina Nuckols] and their staff for all their work on this budget to finally get it where it needed to be to get it passed," Commissioner Robert Bird said.
"I know they had to put in numerous hours. I appreciate what they've done."
Bird later added, "Next year, we're going to have bigger problems than we had this year."
County Mayor Alan Broyles noted that budget cuts in recent years have left less for department heads to turn back in at the end of each year.
"We've always had about $1 million left," the mayor said. "This year I don't suppose it was a third of that.
"It will probably be the same next year," Broyles added.
"Even [less]," Shelton replied, noting this year's additional cuts.
"There's going to be a tax raise sometime," Commissioner M.C. Rollins concluded.
"I don't know when, but it's coming -- probably sometime in the near future. You can't just keep doing what we did this year."
Commissioner Hilton Seay and Broyles both noted that the local economy is simply not strong enough to impose a tax increase on citizens.
"We're at a stalemate," Broyles said.
At Seay's recommendation, the committee agreed to begin study of what would be required to implement a hiring freeze.
Seay suggested that a committee could review any open positions before vacancies are filled.