Whitfield facing $5 million deficit - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Whitfield facing $5 million deficit

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WHITFIELD COUNTY, GA. (Times Free Press)-- Whitfield County commissioners face a budget "mess," Chairman Mike Babb says, and they have less than six weeks to sort it out.

Commissioners are grappling with an estimated $5 million deficit for the 2011 fiscal year that starts in January, and they have few options other than payroll to close the hole.

"Sixty-five percent of our budget is employee salaries and benefits," Babb said. "We've got several options. We have across-the-board salary decreases, furloughs ... layoffs. There are only certain ways you can address this, and none of the choices are good."

The county typically passes a $45 million budget, but balancing the budget for the coming year without raising taxes will mean trimming 11 percent by Dec. 31. Commissioners voted in October to hold the millage rate steady at 5.061 mills.

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