By Brandon Martin
The Henry County Public Service Authority (PSA) approved its $12,635,578 fiscal year 2021-2022 budget during an April 26 work session.
The budget is an increase of 23.8 percent from the previous year budget, which was mostly stripped of spending due to uncertainties surrounding the coronavirus pandemic. Compared to the FY19-20 budget – the last budget before COVID-19, this year’s budget would still fall $2,309,315 short of the $14,944,893.
There are no rate increases for PSA customers included in the budget calculations, according to County Administrator and PSA General Manager Tim Hall.
Due to the pandemic, the PSA took on the cost of waiving online transaction fees for customers.
“The board took on the cost of absorbing that cost,” Hall said. “That’s been about $90,000 so far this year. That is a substantial amount of money, but we are proposing in this next budget that we continue that policy, just because it’s healthy for our clients, our customers and our residents. It makes paying their bills easy.”
While the PSA will continue absorbing those costs during the pandemic, the fiscal impact will be lessened next year following negotiations on reducing the fees for online transactions.
Richard Stanfield, deputy finance director, said the quote came down “pretty substantially.”
The present rate for waiving online transaction fees is $2.95 per $300. Stanfield said the new rate would be $1.95 for up to $500.
Hall estimated the cost of the new rate at $50,000-60,000 annually.
“There could be a lessening of people using it as we open up and people feel more comfortable,” Hall said. “We want to give that option to those that don’t. I think it is important that we make an effort to continue that right now.”