Henry County Has Approved the FY 2025 County Budget

Photo of the Henry County Administration Building in McDonough on a sunny day with cloud coverage (Clayton Carte photo).
(Clayton Carte photo)

Henry County adopted its FY 2025 budget during a special called meeting on Thursday, May 30. The budget funds county operations from July 1, 2024 to June 30, 2025.

Henry County FY 2025 Budget

The FY 2025 budget has projected expenses of $259.7 million. This is an increase of $20.7 million over the 2024 revised budget.

Some notable items within the budget causing the increased expenses includes the following:

  • funding the county’s pension and health insurance cost increases,
  • increased funding for road repairs, and
  • increased medical & food costs for inmates at the county jail.

The budget also includes a 1.8 percent longevity and 1 percent cost of living adjustment for county employees.

During the budget public hearing, residents raised questions about how much tax revenue the county receives from commercial and industrial properties, and whether residents can receive a tax break. In response, Henry County Finance Director David Smith and Chief Tax Appraiser John Selfe shared the county’s tax digest consists of 68 percent residential, 13 percent commercial and 16 percent industrial.

Smith further explained residents receive a frozen homestead exemption in Henry County. This means a homeowner pays the same amount in county taxes year-to-year. “We provide $40 million worth of tax relief through the frozen exemption,” he said. The frozen homestead exemption does not apply to school board taxes.

Smith continued residential properties receive more in services than they pay in taxes. They receive about $1.40 in county services per $1 paid in taxes. By contrast, commercial and industrial properties provide the opposite. They receive about $0.60 cents in services per $1 paid in taxes.

Board Member Remarks

Following staff’s presentation, County Chair Carlotta Harrell added “the commercial and industrial properties offset residential.”

District 1 Commissioner Johnny Wilson weighed in when he said “we need less residential development, and more commercial and more manufacturing. It costs the county more money to service residential properties.”

The county’s budget maintains current service levels and allows preparation for future growth. “We are a growing county; we want to make sure we take care of the county’s needs,” said District 2 Commissioner Neat Robinson.

“We have to prepare the county for twenty years down the road,” added District 5 Commissioner Kevin Lewis. “I want to thank all of the citizens who have been engaged in the process.”

District 4 Commissioner Michael Price echoed those sentiments and thanked staff and residents.

The Board of Commissioners adopted the budget by a unanimous 6-0 vote. All members of the board and County Manager Cheri Matthews thanked the county’s budget staff and department heads for their work in preparing and presenting this year’s budget.

“I want to thank the finance team. You’ve put together some great options and I think this has been the best presented budget since I’ve been here,” said District 3 Commissioner Dee Anglyn.

County Manager Cheri Matthews asked the budget team to stand and be recognized for their outstanding work.

“I want to publicly thank our budget team. They are a staff of three and I would be remiss If I didn’t thank Bernita Campbell, Ivy Adams and Marcus Adams, because they are the brains behind this,” said Matthews.

By The Numbers

Public safety will continue to be the county’s largest expense. It accounts for 52 percent of the county’s expenses, or $135.8 million. Departments within public safety include the county coroner, Sheriff’s Office, Emergency Management & Homeland Security, E-911, Police Department, Code Enforcement, Animal Care and Fire Rescue.

When looking at the county’s judicial services, they represent an additional 11percent of the budget. The county courts have expenses totaling $28.4 million. Together with public safety, departments charged with the community’s safety represent 63 percent of county expenses.

Leisure services, to include parks & recreation and senior services, account for $15.7 million in expenses. Parks & recreation will see a budget increase of $1.1 million in FY 2025. This includes operating expenses for the upcoming, brand-new Mt. Carmel Recreation Center, a summer concert series and special events to celebrate the department’s 50th anniversary.

Other county departments, such as administrative services, facilities and fleet, financial services, planning and economic development and public works, represent the remaining $79.8 million.

Article reprinted from Henry County Government. Featured image shows the Henry County Administration Building. Clayton Carte photo.

About Clayton 1498 Articles
Clayton Carte is the founder and owner of MHF News. He founded the site in 2017 to highlight transportation projects. Over time, he began covering other topics like new development so residents can best know what’s happening in our community.