With the scrub process starting on May 24 for Walton County’s Fiscal Year 2011-12 budget, county commissioners again find themselves in a budget shortfall situation.
Diminishing revenues from property taxes and other sources have been a fact of life for Walton County government for the past half decade. Yearly budgets have been reduced each year during the period, resulting in an approximate $39.4 million total reduction since Fiscal Year 2006-07.
County Commission Chair Larry Jones addressed the topic of the new fiscal year budget at the May 24 Walton County Board of County Commissioners (BCC) meeting at the Walton County Courthouse.
Jones said it was his understanding that the BCC would “need to find” $4 million for the coming fiscal year budget.
Jones commented that, due to the size of the shortfall, “it’s going to impact public policy.” He urged all commissioners to be actively involved in budget planning for the new fiscal year and encouraged them to take a constructive attitude with the process.
Jones said he knew that staff could be asked to recommend areas to cut, but that those would not necessarily be the ones that commissioners would prefer to see reduced.
Jones noted that newly-hired County Administrator Greg Kisela would be starting work on June 21. He recommended also taking Kisela’s suggestions on the budget into consideration at that time.
“This board’s not afraid to make hard decisions,” Jones assured attendees.
District 4 Commissioner Sara Comander commented that she had met with Mike Flynt of the Institute of Senior Professionals, a group she had requested to get involved with guidance on the budget. She said the organization had developed a set of budget recommendations that would be presented to the BCC.
Citizen input will also be sought at a series of budget workshops and meetings. Information on those gatherings will be forthcoming.