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A year-end accounting report provided good news to Houston County Commissioners Monday, revealing the county performed about $4.25 million better than expected in the 2019 fiscal year.

Chief administrative officer Peter Covert said the county received about $2 million in unexpected revenue, with $1 million of that coming from sales taxes. On the other side of the ledger, county officials spent about $2.25 million less than projected, drawing praise from Covert.

County officials routinely budget conservatively, which results in higher spending projections and lower revenue than what usually occurs. The biggest gap in budget projections came in gasoline expenditures, which fell more than $1.25 million under the $12.6 million budgeted.

The Houston County Jail spent about $222,000 less than projected, while the county’s industrial park spent about $156,000 less in waste disposal than officials expected.

In additional to more sales tax revenue, the county received about $700,000 in Federal Emergency Management Agency reimbursements for Hurricane Michael response. County Engineer Barkley Kirkland informed commissioners that FEMA just authorized a $3 million payment to the county, which should hit coffers soon.

The Houston County Sheriff’s Office also generated about $250,000 more in revenue more than originally forecast.

Commissioners approved the report, which was needed to officially close the books on the 2019 fiscal year. In other action, the commission:

» Approved a request to modify the Houston County Administration Building lobby to improve security and traffic flow at a cost of $21,500.

» Approved the installation of a trash compactor for the Houston County Community Corrections Building on a two-year lease deal with Waste Management. The annual cost is $7,725, which includes pickup/disposal charges.

» Reclassified the election machines manager position to elections specialist.

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