Areas of Potential Budget Savings—Goal $500,000 in reductions in the 2017/2018 Budget

  1. At least $100,000 should be allocated by TDC for Tourist Expenses paid by Parks and Recreation at present.
  2. Return of money loaned to Weems Memorial Hospital from past years. Note: this is separate from the money loaned out of the Healthcare Trust Fund currently.
  3. Employee healthcare costs are rising each year. Consider reduction in benefits to match other counties and increase deductibles and co-pays resulting in lower insurance premiums. Insurance is in crisis everywhere and everyone has to pay more than in prior years.
  4. The County has many funds that may or may be accessible and may be overfunded. There has never been a serious look at the millions in funds held year after year. Direct staff to provide options for one-time cash infusions from overfunded or unneeded accounts.
  5. Employee Raises—examine whether our workforce cost growth can be constrained by lowering or eliminating the annual increase. Many employees step up to fill higher paying positions each year. The result is an ever rising average pay cost per employee. Particularly with some Constitutional Officers pay rates are far in excess of market driven requirements.
  6. Stop double dipping. Constitutional Officers frequently raise their own employees’ salaries by themselves and then take the across the board county raise on top of that. That is immoral and unfair to County Department employees held to a higher fiscal standard.
  7. Eliminate unneeded or unoccupied positions within county government. The average employee costs $40,000 a year. A cursory look at the county shows flat population growth over the last 15 years and an ever increasing head count in county government, especially when contract workers are included.
  8. Eliminate automatic budget bump ups. Each year various departments have one-time special needs like a new piece of equipment or an employee transition issue. Very seldom is this brought up at budget time to zero out that additional spending on budget requests and instead, last year’s approved budget becomes next year’s floor.
  9. Reduce the size of the Commissioners Discretionary Account which has recently been around $1 million.
  10. Restrict spending by County Commission edict in the last three months of the fiscal year to stop wasteful spending.
  11. There is money returned to the county at the end of each fiscal year that is not projected for and therefore never used for planning purposes. Use this tranche of money to pay towards the next year’s budget and reduce ad valorem needs. Historical analysis would allow for this savings.
  12. Reduce the County’s Solid Waste cost by enacting county-wide garbage collection. Currently, hundreds of people either dump their garbage or fill county provided containers with household and other trash for which they pay nothing , but costs the county tens of thousands of dollars a year
  13. Implement a 1% across the board budget cut. With a $54 million budget, one would think this is something that could be done./li>
  14. Reduce the EMS subsidy back down a little after a major increase last year. Projection is that EMS will show a substantial profit this year. Last year’s increase was an internal charge issue between Weems and EMS and never should have happened in the first place.
  15. Divert Non-Emergency transport by ambulance to lower cost methods. This has many benefits including cost saving, higher ambulance availability in the county and reduction in liability. Overall delivering better service to Franklin County’s citizens.
  16. Place a hard cap on the support of Franklin County’s NGO’s and Sports Teams. This is to recognize that there is limited funding available and the county cannot do everything each group is eager for them to fund. By placing a cap Commissioners will be forced to enforce budget discipline and receive requests once a year, instead of interspaced throughout the year as is done at present. The Commission should undertake a real discussion of what the County can be expected to pay for vs. what we can afford. Hotel’s, Banquets and other costs the county picks up reduces parent’s incentives to run bake sales, have ticket sales or to solicit local businesses for sponsorships. It’s just easier to go ask the county at present who usually says yes and has no definitive policy or sports budget in place.