F’ville faces budget deadline, eyes quarter-mill tax hike
The July 17 meeting of the Fayetteville City Council should be one for the books. The council is expected to address a litany of issues with the most controversial being the FY 2015 general fund budget.
The proposed FY 2015 general fund budget shows $10.4 million in revenues, with $171,469 of that amount coming from a proposed one-quarter-mill increase.
The overall assumptions for the budget include adding 11 new council-requested positions, including four police officers and three firefighters, along with maintaining appropriate levels of both restricted and unassigned fund balance, increasing employees salary rates by 2.4 percent and funding the additional cost of the Ga. Highway 92/Hood Avenue project using unassigned fund balance.
Also up for consideration is a proposed half-mill increase in the Capital Improvement Program (CIP) fund. A half-mill increase is being proposed largely to pay for additional police cars and equipment along with vehicles for the fire and public works departments.
Council at the meeting will also consider raising water and sewer rates, increase building permit fees, adjusting pay levels for staff, extending the intergovernmental agreement (IGA) with Fayette County on inspections and permitting in the West Fayetteville area, initiating the City Manager selection process and consider the approval of a temporary fire station at Pinewood Atlanta Studios.
An adjustment to the city staff pay scale will be considered. The 2.4 percent increase is favored by most on the council. Some positions, such as police officers, are increasingly difficult to fill since Fayetteville pays at a lower rate than Peachtree City and Fayette County.
Though the proposal was not available at press time, the council will consider approving a one-year lease for a temporary fire station to be located at the Pinewood Production Centre. The proposal is in response to the county’s recent termination of the automatic aid agreement with the city.
The meeting is expected to include a council vote to initiate the process to find a replacement for outgoing City Manager Joe Morton who will be leaving at the end of the year.
The council is also considering increasing building permit fees and increasing the water and sewer rate by 2.4 percent to reflect the Consumer Price Index.
City staff are recommending that the council extend the existing IGA with Fayette County that deals with permitting and inspection services in the West Fayetteville area and primarily in the Pinewood Atlanta Studios development.
Per the existing agreement, the county provides building, electrical, plumbing, mechanical, fire safety, and ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) inspections and compliance for the city. In exchange for these services, the county receives 75 percent of the building permit fees collected. The city continues to inspect sewer/stormwater requirements, parking, landscaping, signage and architectural elevations, as well as full site plan review prior to construction and collects 100 percent of any associated fees in these areas.
Fayette County is requesting that the IGA be extended for three years for departmental budgeting purposes.