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3-22-07 Oconee County BOC has huge “SLUSH FUND” – Overtaxing!

For the FY 05-06, the Oconee County Commission realized an increase in Fund Balance or Surplus of $ 4,698,016. Revenues exceeded expenditures by $ 6,235.966. Some funds ($ 1,717,746) were transferred to other projects. … Melvin Davis could have lowered our tax bills but didn’t. He likes to spend too much to do so!!

AVOC

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March 20, 2007

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Oconee County BOC has huge “SLUSH FUND” – Overtaxing!

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By Wendell Dawson, Editor, AVOC, Inc

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For the FY 05-06, the Oconee County Commission realized an increase in Fund Balance or Surplus of $ 4,698,016.    Revenues exceeded expenditures by $ 6,235.966.Some funds ($ 1,717,746) were transferred to other projects.   Having a surplus can be good in moderation.However, when it is used to disguise tax increases and to pay for Special Projects not in the budget, then it can be excessive.

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In my years as Chairman of the County Commission, we tried to maintain a Fund Balance of $ 2-3 Million for a “Rainy Day Fund”.   Accountants and other governments used a “rule of thumb” of enough money to run the government for 90 days in case taxes were not available.

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In FY 05-06, the Oconee County Fund Balance (Surplus) began at $ 10,613,090 and ended with   $ 15,311,100, a one year increase of $ 4,698,016.   Total Revenues for the same FY was $ 20,799,750 and Total Expenditures of $ 14,563,786.   Excess funds over expenditures totaled $ 6,235.966.  During that same year $ 1,717,746 was transferred out of Fund Balance for other projects, not necessarily appearing as budget line items.

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Observers of BOC meetings have noticed that Chairman Davis will sometimes look at the Finance Officer and ask “Can we afford it?”   The response is sometimes, “we can take it out of Fund Balance.”

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Now many of us seriously doubt that Melvin Davis is not aware of his $ 15.311 Million Slush Fund.  This amount is almost as much as the property tax revenues were for FY 05-06 ($ 16,315,527).   The one year accrued Fund Balance for the budget was 28.8 % of the Tax Revenue!!This would definitely have supported a decrease in the millage rate and county property tax bills.

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Chairman Davis frequently cites economic development and broadening the tax base for justification for more water and sewer expenditures.Why?   Taxpayers have not received any credit for the vastly increased Sales Taxes.

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Chairman Davis has been known to say, “…The County millage rate this past year remained at 8.23 mills.  The highest rate we have had since 2000 was 8.48 mills.  The remainder of your tax bill supports the School System.  The reason your taxes go up is due to the value of your property increasing and the fact that the Board of Education raised their millage rate by 1 mill this past year.”

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Wonder if the School Board knows that they are the cause of increased tax bills?   Wonder how many really know about the huge “Slush Fund”.

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Melvin Davis could have lowered our tax bills but didn’t.   He likes to spend too much to do so!!

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To see the steep increase and windfall in Sales taxes in recent years, see:

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6-13-05 Oconee Sales Tax (LOST) For General Fund - Part 2

The Local Option Sales Tax has been a bonanza for local governments and property taxpayers.

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6-13-05 Oconee SPLOST Sales Tax (Capital Projects) 1993-2005 Part 3

Oconee SPLOST receipts increased from $ 886,532.69 in 1993 to $ 4,271,456.85 in 2004


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FOR AUDIT BALANCE SHEET, SEE:

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Oconee.Audit.Summary.7.06.Audit.3.16.07.pdfx

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6-13-05 Oconee Can Afford More Property Tax Relief - Sales Taxes Part 1

……We lowered the millage some in my last year or two to offset the needs of the school board. Since then, the sales tax and property tax revenues have significantly increased but there has been no reduction in property taxes. At the same time, payrolls and bureaucracy have grown. Big ambitious projects have been announced and funding is taken for granted……. . ..........spiraling property values will drive up taxes.

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4-29-05 Oconee County Budget Priorities Are Out of Whack

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A B-H: 2004: Some of the new hires will include a new planner in the planning department, two additional sheriff's deputies, another jailer for the county jail and an assistant in the E-911 department.

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6-23-03 Oconee Taxes Will Increase--Budget ''Smoke & Mirrors''!

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Wal-Mart has brought much sales tax money to the county. It is difficult to know how much because the County Web site seems to have no information on the budget, sales tax or SPLOST receipts.

 

It is AVOC's understanding that the digest grew about 7% this year- much of it in new growth but some from increased assessments on real estate.If the budget was up by 5 %, it means there is some 'float' that will inure to the surplus of the county-discretionary funds.   The sales tax revenue has risen dramatically.


Oconee County

Statement of Revenues, Expenditures and Changes

Governmental -Fiscal Year Ended June 30, 2006

REVENUES

General Fund

Taxes

$ 16.315,527

Licenses and permits

809,021

Intergovernmental revenue

535,255

Charges for services

1,808,573

Fines and forfeitures

742,228

Investment income

552,003

Contributions and donations

500

Miscellaneous

36.645

Total Revenues

20,799.752

    EXPENDlTURES

   Current:

General government

3,350,093

Judicial

1,271,477

Public safety

4,229,808

Public works

2,601.075

Health and welfare

241,356

Culture and recreation

1,761,812

Housing and development

1,063,475

Debt service:

Princ:ipal payments

41,275

Interest and fiscal charges

3,414

Debt issuance costs

-

Capital outlay

-

Total expenditures

14,563,786

Excess (deficiency) of revenues over

                  $ 6,235.966

(under) expenditures

                   

OTHER FINANCING SOURCES (USES)

Proceeds from long-term debt

Proceeds of general fixed asset dispositions

179,796

Transfers in

-

Transfers (out)

(1,717,746)

Total other financing sources (uses)

0,537.950)

Net change in fund balances

4,698,016

Fund Balances-Beginning

$ 10,613,090

    Fund Balance Ending

$ 15,311,100

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.AVOC Note:For the FY 05-06, the Oconee County Fund Balance (Savings) began at $ 10,613,090 and ended with $ 15,311,100, a one year increase of $ 4,698,016.Total Revenues for the same FY were $ 20,799,750 and Total Expenditures of $ 14,563,786.   Excess funds over expenditures totaled $ 6,235.966.During that same year, $ 1,717,746 was transferred out of Fund Balance for other projects, not necessarily appearing as budget line items.


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