F’ville out of financial slump; may give raises

The Fayetteville City Council on June 20 will get a look at the proposed FY 2014 general fund budget totaling $9.7 million. Portions of the revenue side of the budget indicate that Fayetteville has turned the corner on the long-lasting recession that hit the city harder than Fayette County’s other municipalities.

General fund revenues for next year are expected to total, $9,711,859. That compares to $9.408 million in revenues for the current fiscal year. The city is projected to lose approximately one percent this year on the tax digest, having lost more than 25 percent of its value during the prior three years. The council later this summer will consider a millage rate roll-up equal to the decrease in the tax digest.

Revenues for the fiscal year beginning in August are expected to account for a $300,000 increase in sales taxes and nearly $100,000 increase in licenses and permits.

Expenditures include a 5 percent employee salary increase, a 1.45 percent increase in employee benefits and a 2.3 percent increase in operations and maintenance activities. Placing an emphasis on getting back to full staffing and increasing salaries after seven years of eliminating job positions and freezing salaries is seen as a way to have the city become more competitive with surrounding agencies, city staff said.

Fayetteville finance staff were the first in Fayette County to anticipate the recession that began in late 2007. It was in June 2007 that staff recommended the beginning of position freezes and staff cuts that resulted in the city eliminating approximately 30 percent of its job positions over the seven-year period.

The FY 2014 budget will be adopted at the July 18 meeting.

Likely providing a major shot in the arm for Fayetteville’s property taxes and overall development beginning later this year is the activity at the Pinewood Atlanta television and movie studio. Grading work is underway on the 288-acre property on Sandy Creek Road. That property is part of a total of approximately 1,200 acres expected to be annexed into the city next month.