The Gwinnett County Board of Commissioners on Tuesday adopted a $1.56 billion budget for fiscal year 2017.The adopted budget is up about 5.6 percent from 2016 and includes a $1.18 billion operating budget plus another $384 million for capital improvements.
“The budget upholds Gwinnett’s history of sustainable, conservative budgeting practices while looking ahead at future implications of our decisions. I appreciate the citizen review team members, County staff and elected offices for their hard work in developing this year’s budget,” Board of Commissioners Chairman Charlotte Nash said. “The primary areas of focus for 2017 are retaining employees, supporting public safety, expanding the judiciary to meet demand and enhancing community engagement.”
The operating budget totals $1.18 billion, compared to $1.12 billion last year. It includes new positions in the public safety and judicial areas, including staffing for two new 24/7 ambulance units, along with additional staff to improve traffic management, reduce the waiting list for senior homemaking services and enhance the Board’s community outreach efforts. Workforce retention measures are also contained in the budget.
With the approval of the new six-year SPLOST program, an estimated $950 million is slated for county and city capital improvements in transportation, recreation, civic center expansion, public safety, libraries and senior services.
Capital improvements funded by SPLOST programs include an $82 million expansion of the Gwinnett Justice and Administration Center, expansions and improvements at multiple County parks, library replacements in Duluth and Norcross and various road improvements. Construction on the courthouse expansion is slated to begin in the middle of 2017 and should be completed in late 2019. The senior center housed in the Norcross Human Services Center will also be renovated.
Water and sewer user fees will fund upgrades to water and sewer facilities, sewer line inspections using a new acoustic monitoring system to help locate clogs before spills occur, and more public education to keep fats, oils and grease out of the sewer system.
The adopted budget also includes amendments such as increasing the library system’s budget by $500,000, adding Wi-Fi to a portion of the County’s transit fleet for $270,000 and adding $50,000 to market the Gwinnett County airport.
Six residents and business people volunteered on the Chairman’s budget review committee. They heard presentations and studied departmental business plans, budget needs and revenue projections before making recommendations for the budget. Commissioners also sought public input by holding a public hearing and accepting comments through the County’s website.
The budget resolution summary is posted on the County’s website at www.gwinnettcounty.com, and a comprehensive budget document will be published later in the year.