Ben Hill County cuts paying off?

Sheriff Bobby McLemore of Ben Hill County. / Jessica Fairley

In 2012 the economic state of Ben Hill County had the community on edge. Now officials say the county's finances are on the right track.

"Overall we've reduced project expenditures by about $1 million dollars, which is huge. That's over ten percent of the county's budget," said Frank Feild, Ben Hill County Manager.

In Tuesday's special called meeting, constitutional officers reported that they are below budget.

Sheriff Bobby McLemore is one of the leaders who reported his financial standings. Last year he was forced to cut eight positions from his staff. Although he's under budget, he says he's barely scraping by, making do with the funds that he has until and adjustment can be made.

"Everybody within the county is just pulling together to stay within our budgets and it's going to be a struggle but we're going to do the best we can," said Bobby McLemore, Ben Hill Sheriff.

Commissioners have not only cut back to the bare minimum, but the county has also set a goal to save for fluctuations in operation costs. Because of the tight budgets, officials say if county finances remain stabilized, taxes could go down.

"If were able to have a lower tax rate here than other counties surrounding us, then we would be much more attractive as far as a place for new businesses to come," said Frank Feild.

Lowering the millage rate is something the county manager says commissioners will explore at a later date.

He says for now they're banding together with county leaders to keep finances low while better serving the community.