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Taxes stay same in new county budget

By Kevin Liles

Though the 2005 budget for Clayton County includes the hiring of more than 60 additional people and the purchase of 82 new vehicles, there will not be a tax increase for property owners.

"Taxpayers will not see a difference," said Crandle Bray, chairman of the Clayton County Board of Commissioners.

The board votes on the budget for fiscal year 2005, which begins July 1, this morning at 9 a.m. during a called business meeting. They will meet in the commissioners' conference room at the county annex building on Smith Street.

The $267.8 million budget includes the hiring of 62 new employees with the Clayton County Police Department and Emergency Medical Services and a 5 percent raise for all police officers.

During a work session last week, Commissioner Charlie Griswell said he was upset about the pay of two civil engineers.

The engineers, who work for the Clayton County Department of Transportation, have put in their notices to quit. Griswell said they deserve a raise.

Renee Bright, Clayton County's director of personnel, said her department could not justify a raise for the position. But she did agree that she would look at it again and report back to commissioners this week.

"We do a survey of metro counties and other areas that are similar to us," she said during the Tuesday work session. "And we were not able to recommend a raise?"