TIFTON -- Although a budget has not been set in stone and no public meetings have been held, county officials say they do not expect Tift County property taxes to be raised this year.

County Manager Bill Park said Wednesday that he does not anticipate the county raising its current millage rate and does not expect many surprises when his staff's budget proposal is revealed later this month.

"I think (our budget) is going pretty well," he said.

In May, the City of Tifton announced a budget proposal that included a raise in the millage rate from 4.447 to 6.997 mills, citing the rising cost of providing city services.

Park has already placed a copy of a slide presentation on the budget proposal in the hands of county commissioners for their review. There are some issues which need to be resolved before a final draft of the budget proposal can be made.

Park said he would like to have several interlocal agreements in place before the proposal is finalized. Those interlocal agreements include merging or cooperating with the City of Tifton on code inspection, recycling, mosquito control and water and sewage.

"Of course that has a direct impact on the budget," Park said.

Park said he expects three of the deals to be finalized before July 1, the date the new budget should go into effect. He said that an agreement on water and sewage will not likely meet the July 1 deadline.

The county manager said that he expects the county commissioners to hold at least one special called meeting in June to finalize issues, as well as discuss and approve the budget.

"We'll be tweaking it over the next few weeks or so," he said.

To contact reporter Dusty Vassey, call 382-4321, ext. 208.

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