Rome City Manager Sammy Rich had good news for the Rome-Floyd Chamber Governmental Affairs committee Friday that neither the city, nor the city school board, anticipates a tax increase this fall. Floyd County Manager Jamie McCord echoed the positive financial news by telling the panel the county now has an unrestricted fund balance in the neighborhood of $16 million.
Looking back to 2016, Rich said police and public works departments together came in a little more than $800,000 under budget. Rich told committee members that local option sales tax receipts are still down but that water and sewer revenue was up. “When big users go away, the rest of us end up paying more,” Rich said. “We’d love to sell more water.” He also said hotel and motel tax collections are on the rise almost five months into 2017.
For the most part, Rich said city finances over the past two decades have been on a fairly consistent, even keel. Putting up a budget graph for the committee to see Rich said, “There are not a lot of crazy up and down squiggly lines there.”
McCord said the county was in good enough shape to give employees a two percent cost-of-living pay raise last year and would be able to implement the third phase of a law enforcement pay increase package later this year.
McCord said the biggest fiscal challenge has been state changes in the Title Ad Valorem Tax and motor fuel taxes. “We’re still trying to figure out what some sort of new normal is going to look like,” McCord said.
On the other hand, McCord said changes to the Georgia DOT funding mechanisms have resulted in nearly $66 million for road work in Floyd County over the past 18 months.
In response to a question, McCord said the county’s number one local transportation priority was completion of the widening of Huffaker Road all the way around the Evans Store on the Alabama Highway.