BLAIRSVILLE, Ga – The 2021 operating budget for Union County was officially set in a called meeting on December 28, 2020.
The total budget for $21,748,780 which was an 11.7 increase from 2020. In a public hearing, Sole Commissioner Lamar Paris cited several reasons for the rising budget including state cuts, property reevaluation, potential gun range costs, COVID-19 expenses, and other various expenses.
Paris thanked his staff, finance director Laura Driskell, purchasing director Pam Hawkins, and county manager Larry Garrett for working to create a streamlined budget.
The 2021 budget incorporated a property tax hike of 17 percent on the county side – a 6.8 percent increase overall. The previous year’s budget fell short of making ends meet by almost $1 million so a property tax increase was necessary. However, the ongoing property reevaluation could drop taxes next year.
SPLOST collections skyrocketed in 2020 and several SPLOST projects are planned in 2021 using the last four months of SPLOST 4 collections and eight months of SPLOST 5. The projects are as follows:
- Jail Roof replacement
- View Grill expansion
- Courthouse HVAC – 2 large roof top units’ replacement
- Meeks Park new restroom facility
- New convenience center for trash and recycling on north end of county
- Future jail property (second half of payment)
- Sheriff’s Office vehicles
- Road work and paving
- City of Blairsville projects
- New pumper engine/fire truck
- Road department dump truck and other equipment and vehicles
- Balls fields complex in front of Farmers Market
- Senior Center upgrades/addition
- SAFE shelter upgrades/addition
- Suches Community Center floor replacement
For a more detailed breakdown of the 2021 operating budget, read this article.