CLARKESVILLE - Several people said they left Monday night's Habersham County Commission meeting more confused than when they arrived. That's because the vote on a county budget didn't indicate whether their taxes will go up.
The commission voted 4-1 to approve a $22,513,385 overall budget for Fiscal Year 2013-2014, with Chairman Chad Henderson casting the vote against.
It is not known whether that budget will mean a tax increase for the county's property owners since final data will not be available from the county tax assessors for about four more weeks, Henderson said following the meeting.
The approved budget is down from roughly $23.7 million, said County Manager Janeann Allison.
Commissioner Andrea Harper said the commission worked hard to take into account the wants of the community regarding county services.
"It's a workable budget," Harper said.
"We have struggled over this as much as we possibly could,' said Commissioner Sonny James.
The discussion prior to the vote lasted only a little more than five minutes.
Following the meeting, Henderson said he is not opposed to the approved budget, but did have a few more questions he had hoped to have answered prior to the vote. That was the reason for his lone vote against the budget approval.
"Resoundingly, we decided to approve the budget as it sits," Henderson said. "I felt like there were just a couple of other questions that I wanted to answer before we did. I was hoping to possibly have a called meeting on Wednesday to approve the budget then. As it stands, I am confident that we'll be able to work things out in such a way that it'll be good for the community and we won't have any kind of strife amongst us going forward."
Henderson said under the approved budget, the swimming pools stay open, the libraries stay open, and for the most part county services continue at the same level.
He said the commission has received preliminary numbers from tax assessors, but it will be about four more weeks before final numbers for the digest are available.
"From there, we'll call meetings to set the millage rate," Henderson said.