77 / 51
      75 / 53
      75 / 57

      Ben Hill budget passes despite opposition

      The Ben Hill Board of Commissioners has voted unanimously to pass the county TMs proposed balanced budget for 2013.

      The budget is set at $8.63 million.

      During a public hearing held before the vote, officials with the Ben Hill Volunteer Fire Department begged before the board that if the proposed budget would pass, the fire department wouldn TMt be able to survive on $43,000 a year.

      Ben Hill Sheriff Bobby McLemore also went before the board stating that his operating costs have nearly doubled and he will need more financial support from county.

      Commissioners plan to meet with volunteer firefighters and sheriff's officials in the upcoming year to decide a plan on how to manage operation costs.

      Officials also plan to meet on a month-to-month basis to determine where each department stands in their yearly budget.

      In addition to passing the proposed budget, the county commission also voted for employees to take one furlough day per month for the first three months of the year.

      Salaried employees and constitutional officers don't have to participate in the furloughs but officials are hoping they choose to.

      Constitutional officers will have an opportunity at achieving their budget counts. So in other words, we're starting the year with a furlough that they will be able to control, said Frank Field, County Manager.