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Bibb Commissioners Look at New Budget System | News

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Bibb Commissioners Look at New Budget System
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Bibb County continues to look for ways to get an early start on tackling next year's budget.

The board met Monday morning with department heads and county elected officials in a budget work session to talk about zero-based budgeting.

That means the county would first decide which programs and services they want to offer for the upcoming year, then budget the money for them. That's according to a consultant brought in to explain the system.

The process would require commissioners to take a hard look at the services and programs it offers.  They would have to decide if another agency or group could better provide the service, or if Bibb is offering too much, too little, or just enough of it.

 

After the presentation, several commissioners and elected officials said they didn't think the new way of budgeting would make enough difference to the bottom line, and would add and unnecessary layer to the process.

Board Chairman Sam Hart says it's difficult to bring in that new system when about 54 percent of the county's budget comes from departments with elected officials.

"I think a lot of us saw a real value in looking at zero-based budgeting, but we're different from even say the city. We have constitutional officers and they sort of set their own quality of service they set their own frequency of service and those kind of things and they have to live within what's expected from them from the public," said Hart.

He, along with Commissioners Elmo Richardson and Bert Bivins, agreed that zero-based budgeting was not the way to go. Hart says he was concerned the new process could cost more to implement after Bibb County Sheriff Jerry Modena said it could possible require his department to hire additional people to put the system into practice.

Commissioner Joe Allen was not at the session.

Richardson, who chairs the county's finance department, says he's satisfied with Bibb's current method.

Commissioner Lonzy Edwards, who has suggested the county looking at zero based budgeting several times, still thinks the new system is a good idea.

"I'm still convinced that zero-based budgeting is a way, just one way, one of many ways, that we need to try and keep faith with the tax payers of Bibb County to assure them that we're doing everything in our power to live within our means before we come back to them asking for additional money," said Edwards.

Hart says he says the board will take an official vote on the budget policy at a later meeting.

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