CONYERS — During the first reading of the proposed 2020 Rockdale County Appropriations Ordinance Tuesday, the Board of Commissioners approved three budget adjustments that will increase the proposed budget by $470,173, for a newly revised 2020 budget of $75,382,901.

Salaries and benefits will make up the majority of the expenditures in the 2020 budget at 63%. There is not an across-the-board pay raise for employees this year, but they will receive increases for longevity and other factors developed in a compensation model and incentives developed by the Talent Management department.

Finance Director Roselyn Miller stated during the BOC meeting that the commissioners desired to provide additional salary funding for several positions, over and above the compensation model. The positions receiving additional funding would be:

♦ Chief Appraiser — $14,157

♦ Deputy Chief Appraiser — $3,349

♦ Deputy Chief Appraiser — $536 (There are two Deputy Chief Appraisers)

♦ Director of Public Relations — $10,546

♦ Chief of Staff — $9,248

♦ Director of Talent Management — $4,952

♦ Deputy Director of Talent Management — $3,000

♦ Director of Planning and Development — $3,800

♦ Deputy Director of Planning and Development — $8,500

♦ Director of Legislative Affairs/County Clerk — $7,311

♦ Deputy Director of Parks and Recreation — $3,000

The total salary increase is $68,399. With the benefits factored in, the total adjustment is $78,659.

The second adjustment proposed is for a program manager position for the Stepping Up initiative being handled through State Court Judge Nancy Bills’ office. The Stepping Up Initiative is a national effort to divert people with mental illness from jails and into treatment.

Miller said the estimated cost for the position would be $73,586, and includes both salary and benefits.

Chair Oz Nesbitt Sr. said the initiative is well worth the money.

“This is long overdue for mental health and our continued effort to work with law enforcement and our court system,” said Nesbitt. “(Post 2) Commissioner (Doreen) Williams has done a fantastic job championing the Stepping Up initiative, and I support it 100%.”

The final adjustment proposed is to add two additional early voting locations for elections in 2020.

“On Oct. 30 the Rockdale County Board of Elections voted to establish two additional early voting locations next year for the Presidential Preference Election in March, the General Primary Election in May, and the General Election in November,” said Miller. “To establish these two additional early voting locations, it will be a total of $317,930.”

Rockdale County is currently the only county in the metro Atlanta area that does not have more than one early voting location. The two additional sites would be located in south Rockdale and north Rockdale, and would provide early voters there a quicker turnaround to get in and vote.

The BOC unanimously approved all three budget adjustments in three separate motions and votes.

“The proposed 2020 budget was $74,912,728,” Miller said in conclusion. “With the salary adjustments, the addition of a program manager for the Stepping Up initiative, and the two extra early voting locations, the total amendment is $470,173, which would raise the revised 2020 budget to $75,382,901.”

The Board of Commissioners unanimously voted to approve the revised budget total.

When the budget was originally unveiled on Nov. 5, Miller said the proposed budget is 9% more than the 2019 budget, but that for the second year in a row, the county would not have to go into its reserve fund to balance the budget.

When asked after Tuesday’s meeting if the new revised budget could also be funded without going into the reserve balance by reducing the amount budgeted for the contingency fund, Miller stated that it is too early to know.

“I will know once I get all the amendments from the board; they have from today until Dec. 10 to provide amendments. We can and probably will reduce the amount budgeted for contingency; however, I must receive all amendments before I can recommend reducing the contingency without affecting the budget.”

The Board of Commissioners will have the second reading and adoption of the 2020 Appropriations Ordinance at its regular meeting scheduled for 10 a.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 10, in the Assembly Hall at 901 Main St. in Conyers.

Senior Reporter

Born and raised in Decatur, Ga. Graduated from Shorter College in Rome, Ga. in 1979 with B.A. in Communications. Worked in community newspapers for 26 years. Started at Rockdale Citizen/Newton Citizen in January 2016.