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      Colquitt County residents face possible tax increase and job cuts

      A one mill tax increase and eight to ten job cuts are on the table in Colquitt County as the board of commissioners work to lower their budget before their July 1st deadline.

      Interim County Administrator Tom Berry says with the current numbers, the board is set up for failure.

      "Unfortunately the tax base here is not growing by leaps and bounds, and 50% of their revenue comes from taxes so they've got to position themselves for the future."

      If the board doesn't make the necessary cuts, they'll be forced to use their reserves to cover the difference. The tax increase would bring in an extra $900,000 per year and some commissioners say although it's a tough decision, it's something that needs to be done.

      "I'm really not in the favor of raising taxes but that's the only way to bring the revenue in that we need to take care of our bills," said District 2 Commissioner James Winfred Giddens.

      Others, like Chairman Benny Alderman and Commissioner Luke Strong, however strongly opposed the new budget and say they're not willing to ask residents to pay more. The two men say there has to be another option and they're hoping to hear more before they have to make a decision.

      Also up for debate is a $300,000 cut to healthcare costs that would increase deductibles, open up different coverage options and put an emphasis on mandatory wellness check-ups to ensure health. For now, the board will rely on resident input during a public hearing tomorrow night to see in which direction they should go.

      "I'm hoping and open tomorrow night for any suggestions from any residents and I hope that a lot of people will come," said Giddens.

      The public hearing will take place at the Courthouse Annex at 6:30 p.m. before the regular meeting begins at 7.