Lee County’s proposed budget for the fiscal year that begins July 1, 2013 offers mixed messages when it comes to the county’s financial outlook.
At first glance, the projected numbers in the nearly $24-million spending plan appear positive.
The overall property tax rate is expected to decrease by $0.50 to around $10.40/$1,000 of assessed valuation.
That would be the lowest the rate has been since it came in at $8.60 nearly ten years ago.
The budget does not require staff cuts or program reductions and it includes money for salary increases.
These are all based on the county using reserve funds, though, to account for a more than $1-million shortfall in the overall budget.
Half of that deficit is the result of projects for the secondary roads department.
Board of Supervisors Chairman Rick Larkin says the shortfall could lead to cuts to try to keep Lee County from relying on its reserves.
The shortfall is even expected to grow in the next week because the spending plan does not take into account a planned expansion of the Lee County Jail or several conservation projects.
Larkin says next week’s workshop will be devoted to the budget, which must be completed by March 15, 2013.