The first draft of Catoosa County's fiscal year '21 budget includes notable increases for the fire department and cost of living adjustments.

Presented during the Aug. 4 commissioners' meeting, the FY21 proposal estimates $31.2 million in expenditures, $2.6 million more than last year.

Outside of normal expenditures, the proposal includes $3 million to be transferred from the county's savings to a new capital projects fund "to fund vital projects that aren't funded through the Special Local Option Sales Tax."

This addition brings the total expenditures for FY21 to $34.6 million.

Revenues for the county are projected to come in at $31.18 million, to be supplemented by a $20,000 sale of assets to meet the $31.2 million expenditure needs.

The increase in revenue, up from $28.6 million in FY20, is primarily from a $1.3 million projected increase in income from motor vehicle title taxes and a $660,953 projected increase in funds from Local Option Sales Taxes.

The largest proposed increase in expenses comes from costs associated with the fire department.

In November 2019, Catoosa County and Fort Oglethorpe announced they would be consolidating their fire departments to come under the county's leadership.

The related line item in Catoosa County's proposed FY21 budget lists $700,000 to go toward expenses related to the merger, though according to county budget documents, Catoosa will receive funds from Fort Oglethorpe's Insurance Premium Tax to offset the expense.

Additionally, $487,000 is slated for full staffing of the Keith Station. Currently the station, one of 10 in the county, is primarily staffed by certified volunteer firefighters. The proposed budget line would supply the county with nine paid career firefighter position in an effort to decrease response times.

The second highest expenditure will provide routine cost of living adjustments and benefits for all county employees to the tune of $479,000, the second installment of an expenditure approved in the FY20 budget.

The county planned to hold a public hearing for citizens to comment on the budget Aug. 10, and will take its only vote on the budget Aug. 18.

The proposed budget can be found at

Contact Tierra Hayes at