Responding to overwhelming opposition from taxpayers, the Lamar County commission met in a workshop Thursday morning to cut the proposed budget down to the bare bones.Drastic cuts in local supplements for state-mandated services are very much on the drawing board.There may not be a millage increase after all but there will be a fire and medical service fee added to every tax bill.”It sounds like with the cuts we made there could be no millage increase,” said chairman Jay Matthews.The commission is eyeing a 10% across the board cut in all county salaries and deep cuts to state-mandated services. The cuts total $600,451, leaving a $222,499 gap between revenue and expenses down from $822,950.After benefit reductions related to the salary cuts and the fire and medical fee per household applied to cover those services, that deficit could be wiped out.The fire/EMS fee would pay for EMS and fund the health department. If approved, it would be collected on every parcel – including individual apartments, churches and individual dormitory rooms at Gordon College.”We understand that is still a tax but it is much more equitable than raising the millage rate,” commission chairman Jay Matthews said.The fire fee would be for all unincorporated Lamar County and Milner. The ambulance fee would also apply to Barnesville homes and businesses but the fire fee would not.More information is expected to become available at an additional workshop set for Monday, Aug. 23, at 10 a.m.
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